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THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS DEFEAT IN 

NONVIOLENCE. THE END OF VIOLENCE IS 

SUREST DEFEAT. 

THE LIBRARY OF THE 
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 



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THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 




RAMDAS DUGGIRALA GO P A LA KRI SH N A YY A. 

HERO OF CHIRALA-PERALA. 



THE 

Chirala-Perala Tragedy 

An Episode of Voluntary Exile 



BY 

G. V. KRISHNA RAO 



Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn, 
Thy sports are fled, and all thy charms withdrawn 
Amidst thy bowers the tyrant's hand is seen, 
And desolation saddens all thy green." 

GOLDSMITH 



GANESH & CO. MADRAS 



X 



HCanr 



s^' 



THE CAMBRIDGE 
PRESS, MADRAS. 




DUGGIRALA GOPALAKRISHNAYYA, RAMDAS. 



i 






THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED 

(Without Permission) 
TO 

His Excellency The Right Hon'ble 
SIR RUFUS DANIEL ISSACS, 

Earl of Reading, 
PC. G.C.B.. G.C.S.I.. G.C.1.E...K.C.V.O., 

Viceroy and Governor-General of India, 

TO 

His Excellency The Right Hon'ble 

Sir Freeman Freeman Thomas 

Baron Willingdon of Ratton, 

G.C.S.I.. G.C.I.E., G.B.K., 

Governor of Madras, 

AND TO 

The Hon'ble Dewan Bahadur 
P. RAMARAYANINGAR, MA, 

Minister for Local Self-Government, 

Government of Madras, 

'^ho have lent their hands in the sinful task 

of desolating two beautiful spots of 

God's Creation by their 

neglect. 

ivi727665 



" Earth is sick and Heaven is weary 

Of the hollow words that States and Kingdoms- 

utter 
When they talk of truth and justice." 



CONTENTS 



Chapter 1 


Page. 




Frontispiece .. 






Proem 




I. 


Under the Union 


1 


11. 


Enforcement of Municipality 


7 


III. 


Evacuation of Villages ... 


11 


IV. 


Publicity Bureau Answered 


16 


V. 


The Hero of Chirala-Perala 


27 




Epilogue 


38 




Appendix I — The Publicity Bureau's 






Statement 


43 




Appendix II — Reply to the Publicity 






Bureau 


49 




Appendix III — Congress Committee's 






Statement ... 


60 




Appendix IV — Gopalakrishniah's 






Trial 


64 




Addendum— Second Trial of Chirala- 






Perala Hero 


96 




,, Final Statement 


136 



PROEM 

I have tried to set out the facts about the 
Chirala-Perala Tragedy as clearly and dis- 
passionately as I can. I have omitted much 
that I might have said. Throughout the book 
I have tried to understate difficulties rather 
than exaggerate them, for exaggeration defeats 
its own purpose. But I think if the reader will 
try to realise for himself the miserable state of 
affairs where a village can have no say even 
in simplest matters, where everything is under 
the eye of a Government official, where initia- 
tive is forbidden, where the ignorant people 
are severely repressed, he will certainly have 
some idea that unrest is not unreasonable, and; 
surely feel the desertion or death of village units 
portend the destruction of Empires, or common- 
wealths or all civilizations. 

20th January, t9S2. ] ^- ^- ^^^^HNA RAO. 



ERRATA. 

Page Line For Read 

9 23 old union again old union. 

24 9 into to 

26 19 in on 

Perugancbiproie Penuganchiprole 
the boy very much the boy. 
humour incarnate Humour Incarnate 
Study idioms learn English 

and according and act according 



27 


5 


27 


12 


35 


5 


no 


24 


153 


14 




DUOGIRALA CiOPALAKRISHNAYYA. M.A. 



THE 
CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

AN EPISODE OF VOLUNTARY EXILE 

Chapter I 
Under the Union 

Of all the errors committed by the Indian 
Government no^ie is more gravely serious 
than their destruction of village organism 
throughout India. From times of yore vil- 
lage has been the unit of all free life and 
civilization. It has absorbed within itself 
diverse trades and occupations and religions and 
castes in one community. It has absorbed new- 
comers, acquired new blood, assimilated new 
ideas to add to the old and *' leaven " them. 
The village is the basis of all civilization and 
" the one germ of corporate life that could be 



2 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

encouraged into a larger growth." But it is an 
irony of fate to note that it has been killed by 
the British administrators in India. 

The English official comes to India " new- 
fledged and eager for his work." Knowing 
nothing of India, he proceeds to overrule 
*' the well-informed Indian opinion and seeks to 
impose English methods on an ancient land 
which has its own traditions." They then 
complain that Indians are ignorant, they are 
not fit for self-government and they should be 
ruled with an iron hand. " It is the way with 
the hybrids." 

After the advent of the British rule in India, 
various enactments were framed to destroy 
the independent initiative power of villages 
and crush out the life and spirit of the people, 
" and to reduce them to the status of humble, 
tractable servants of the official hierarchy." 
Instead of becoming a school for local self- 
government, village administration seems " in 
danger of conversion into a branch of the 
bureaucracy." It is also a pity to note that a 
section of our countrymen become tools in the 
hands of an Alien Bureaucracy which trans- 
forms them by its jugglery into '^ statesmen." 
It is these " statesmen " who help the foreigner 



UNDER THE UNION 3 

to enslave people and advise the government 
to resort to severe repression if the nation 
asserts its self-consciousness. This is the 
ineffaceable impression one gets when he reviews 
the history of local self-government in India. 
To those who doubt the above truth, I cite 
the tragic episode of Chirala-Perala in the 
Andhradesh as an instance on the point, and 
let them mark, learn, and inwardly digest the 
bitter truth that the so-called reforms doled out 
now and then to a seemingly impotent nation 
by a benevolent Ma Bap Government, sap the 
little bit of initiative and independence a 
nation possesses and condemn it to the hell of 
slavery for ever. 

A cluster of trees consisting of mango and 
cocoanut and other useful Indian trees, a group 
of dwellings some tiled and some thatched, a 
temple in the centre, a church and a rice mill, 
— signs of the invasion of modern Western Civi- 
lization — these surrounded on all sides by large 
barren fields — this is the village of Chirala (in 
the Guntur District, the Madras Presidency) : 
and near and around it are four villages, 
Viraraghavapet, Jandrapet, Perala, and Old 
Chirala. With its surrounding four villages 
Chirala has formed as the basis of a Union 



4 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

during the last forty years silently doing its 
God -appointed task. In fact the Chirala Union 
formed a little state in itself and though years 
have rolled away and changes have been vast 
and varied, still it maintained its unity and 
perfection and "resembled exactly his proto- 
type of at least one thousand years ago," 

Chirala possesses a Board Elementary School 
and an hospital both maintained by the Taluk 
Board of Bapatla. Educational facilities are 
also afforded in the form of twelve Results' 
Schools getting government grants. Not only 
these but a secondary school maintained by the- 
village committee, a Government's girls' school, 
and Mission's boys' and girls' schools form the 
chief centres of education in these five villages. 

The collections of the Union amount roughly 
to Rs. 5,000 a year, which money used to be- 
spent on establishment, scavenging, and street- 
lighting. 

These villages possess excellent and happy 
climate. Chirala is a summer resort to those 
who cannot atford to ascend to the Olympian 
heights of Ooty or the Elysian heights of Simla. 
As the soil of the villages is sandy and porous 
(the sea is three miles distant from the villages) 
there is no need on the part of a British official 



UNDER THE UNION 5 

to think of a permanent drainage scheme. 
The villages have gardens on their outskirts 
and Nature has provided them with scavengers 
(pigs) in large numbers ; hence a British officer 
need not trouble himself of plans to maintain a 
grand scavenging department. Plenty of sweet 
water can be had in the villages and hence 
they do not require a water scheme from expert 
engineers of the modern day civilization. 

The villagers are simple, happy, and work 
hard. In food and in dress as w^ell as in many 
other things they are simple. They are con- 
tented and have no high ambitions. They 
v^ork when there is work, and play when they 
have no work and enjoy life's pleasures most 
keenly. Dyeing and weaving form their chief 
occupations and they are able to raise sufficient 
food to sustain them for a year. Under the 
Union their life, in general, flowed on happily 
and smoothly on un-ruffled by anything un- 
common, and " undisturbed by the many 
^conflicting interests that are at work in the out- 
side world." Truly one remembers the following 
words of the poet when he thinks of the simple 
and happy life of the villagers under the Union : 
■** It was a land of plenty and of wealth ; 
There God's indulgent hand made for a race 



6 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

Supremely blest a paradise on earth, 

A land of virtuef truth, and charityi 

Where nature's choicest treasures man enjoyed 

With littJe toil, where youth respected agei 

Where each his neighbour's wife his sister deemedi 



A land where each man deemed him highly blest 
When he relieved the mis'ries of the poor ; 
When to his roof the wearied traveller came 
To share his proffered bounty with good cheer.*' 



CHAPTER II 
Enforcement of Municipality 

Carlyle says: "The ways of the world are 

more anarchical than ever we have got 

into the age of revolutions. All kinds of things 
are coming to be subjected to fire as it were ; 
hotter and bolter the wind rises around every- 
thing." The above remark applies with equal 
force to the village constitutions in India. Intro- 
duction of the Ryotwari system (in the Madras 
Presidency), and the extreme centralization of 
judicial and executive powers in the hands of 
its (British Bureaucracy) own officials have 
completed the task of destroying, root and 
branch, the old village constitutions : and as a 
result we find now hybrid councils and unions 
in their places. In spite of the cataclysmic 
changes, the villagers of the Chirala union were 
self-sufficient and happily living, when, the 
Government of Madras threw a bomb shell — 



8 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

God knows the reason why — on the union and 
disturbed the placid contentment of the villa- 
gers. 

In November, 1919, the Government of 
Madras issued a notification to the effect that 
Chirala and Perala should henceforth be formed 
as a municipality; and Jandrapet and Old Chirala 
should be separated from Chirala and Perala 
and constitute themselves as a union ; and if 
there were any complaints to the contrary they 
might be notified to the Government by a cer- 
tain date. This strange pronouncement as- 
tounded the villagers ; and they, not only 
sent reasoned petitions, but also deputed some of 
their men to go to Madras and discuss the 
question with the Government. But all their 
attempts became futile. The Government, at 
last, declared the constitution of the munici- 
pality of Chirala-Perala in January, 1920. 

Eleven councillors with a Revenue Divisional 
Officer as Chairman were nominated and they 
formed as a Municipal Council to carry on the 
administration of Chirala-Perala. Taxes were 
increased from Rs. 4,000 to Rs. 33,000. Many 
revision petitions were sent up to the Chairman 
complaining about the nature of the exorbitant 
taxation. But the Chairman advised the people 



ENFORCEMENT OF MUNICIPALITY 9 

to pay taxes and then appeal against high and 
unjust taxation. Tlie advice was accepted and 
for the first half-year taxes were paid and then 
the villagers appealed to the higher authorities 
of their grievances. But wastage of money on 
courts and posts was the result of their legiti- 
mate agitation. 

At last goaded to despair the villagers resolv- 
ed to boycott the municipality. The municipal 
councillors, feeling the righteous and just in- 
dignation of their countrymen against the 
municipality, resigned in a body. The District 
Collector having learnt of the serious step taken 
by the councillors visited the place, when, the 
villagers urged him to recommend the abolition 
of the municipality. Afterwards, when, 
Hon'ble Mr. Ramarayaningar, Minister of Local 
Self-Government, visited Chirala in February, 
1921, the villagers sent a deputation to him 
praying to dissolve the municipality. The 
councillors unanimously demanded the Minister 
to yield to the wishes of the people and 
reinstate the old union again. The Minister 
never cared for the strong public opinion but 
threatened to appoint a paid chairman, to 
establish punitive police, to remove the Railway 
Station, Post Office, and hospital, and to station 



10 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

the military if they do not agree to have a muni- 
cipality. His threats having no effect on the 
villagers, the Minister, through the help of the 
village munsiff of Nidubrole, invited some 
non- Brahmins and tickling their caste pre- 
judices and giving them hopes of nomination 
on the council tried his best to seduce them to 
his side; but glad to note he failed and failed 
miserably. After returning to Madras the 
Minister officially asked the newly-instituted 
Chirala Municipal Council why it should not be 
superseded and a paid chairman appointed in its 
place, to carry on its duties. The Municipal 
Council met (the American Missionary Mr. 
Thomas too attended) and in a well-reasoned 
statement resolved that the villagers could not 
bear heavy taxation, the villagers did not re- 
quire a municipality^ therefore the Minister 
should abide by the wishes of the people and 
instead of superseding it should reinstate the old 
union dissolving the Municipal Council. But as 
the master so the servant, the Minister being a 
Brown Bureaucrat, turned a deaf ear to the 
resolution of the municipality and, on 1st April, 
1921, superseding it appointed a paid chairman 
on a fat salary of Rs. 390 a month. 



CHAPTER III 
Evacuation of Villages 

The first act of the tragedy is over and you 
will enter upon the second act where you will 
witness the subtle workings of a Bureaucracy 
driving out the villagers across the plains " with 
their hymns of lofty cheer." 

Alleging that the people became riotous, burnt 
toll-gate and placed toll-bar across the rail-road 
stopping the Calcutta mail for some time, the 
Government stationed a batch of reserve police 
(100 or so in number) at Chirala and thus began 
their operations in the field, viz., threatening 
the villagers to submit to the municipality. The 
paid chairman, with the help of the reserve 
police, went to the defaulters' houses and in 
many cases attached their properties, which, 
though auctioned at different places many a 
time, nobody bought them. In consequence of 
these repressive acts the villagers apprehend- 
ed danger to their person and property and con« 



12 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

suited their leaders what to do in those circum- 
stances. At that time Mahatma Gandhi, on his 
way to Madras, visited Chirala and inquiring 
into the grievances of the villagers advised them 
either to adopt civil disobedience or desatyag, 
i.e., to evacuate the villages. To adopt civil 
disobedience means to refuse payment of taxes, 
to submit to the attachment of property, and if 
necessary to go to jails in large numbers. The 
leaders of the villagers apprehended that, if 
they adopt civil disobedience, they might at 
any moment lose their patience and come into 
conflict with the Bureaucracy which awaits 
with glee for an opportunity " to make them 
learn a lesson which they might not forget for 
another fifty years." Thereupon Ramdas 
Duggirala Gopalakrishnayya, the leader of 
Chirala- Perala advised the villagers to leave 
the municipal limits, to construct huts on the 
outskirts, and live in them till the fulfilment of 
their wishes. Accordingly, the villagers, 15,000 
in all, gathering their properties, began to eva- 
cuate the villages. During those midsummer 
days, the people were prepared even to give up 
their young children to death on their way 
or in the huts, and the old men, taking their be- 
all on their heads, were prepared even to die or 



EVACUATION OF VILLAGES IS 

swoon on their way rather than meekly submit 
to a wanton disregard of their popular rights 
and liberties by the Bureaucracy. 

Afterwards the cases, regarding toll-shed- 
burning, toll-bar placed across railway lines,, 
were duly heard before a tribunal. The evi- 
dence extracted before the tribunal clearly 
proved that the villagers were innocent and had 
nothing to do with those mischievous acts 
engineered by their enemies behind the scenes. 

After the villagers left their native soil to live 
in huts constructed by themselves on the out- 
skirts of the municipality, some engineered 
attempts were made to burn vacated houses 
and as a result we witness ten houses were 
burnt to ashes. Had there been a sudden blast 
of wind when the fire occurred, both the villages 
should have been burnt to ashes ! But God 
frowned and non-co-operated with the male- 
factors. 

Before the evacuation of the villages — 
'* As I past with careless steps and slow, 
The minghng notes came softened from below; 
The swain responsive as the milk-maid sung, 
The sober herd that lowed to meet their young, 
The noisy geese that gabbled o'er the pool. 
The playful children just let loose from schooh 



14 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

The watch-dog's voice that bayed the whis- 
pering wind, 
And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant 

mind ; 
These all in sweet confusion sought the shade. 
And filled each pause the nightingale had 
made." 
Bat now — 
"the sounds of population fail, 
No cheerful murmurs fluctuate in the gale, 
No busy steps the grass-grown foot-way tread, 
For all the bloomy flush of life is fled." 
Both the villages are in a dilapidated con- 
dition for the last six months. We find jackals 
taking their abode in the deserted houses. One 
feels terrified at the spectacle of seeing the 
snakes crawhng here and there in the deserted 
villages. Green pasture has grown by the side- 
ways in the villages and Nature " red in tooth 
and claw " reigns supreme. When I visited the 
villages after evacuation, I felt pained at the 
desolation of the two beautiful spots of God's 
creation and involuntarily remembering recited 
the words of the poet (with slight change) — 
** Sweet Chiral !' parent of the blissful hour, 
Thy glades forlorn confess the tyrant's power, 
Here, as I take my solitary rounds 
Amidst thy tangling walks and ruined grounds. 



EVACUATION OF VILLAGES 15 

And, many a year elapsed, return to view 
Where once the cottage stood, the hawthorn 

grew, 
Remembrance wakes with all her busy train. 
Swells at my breast, and turns the past to 
pain," 
The villagers are determined not to re-enter 
the villages till the dissolution of the munici- 
pality. At first some people desired to return to 
the deserted villages but happily the incarcera- 
tion of their beloved chief intervened and 
they too emphatically declared to me their 
intention of staying in the huts in the new 
colony till the municipality is abolished. As 
long as there is the municipality in existence. — 
" Thither no more the peasant shall repair 
To sweet oblivion of his daily care ; 
No more the farmer's news, the barber's talet 
No more the woodman's ballad shall prevail ; 
No more the smith his dusky brow shall clear. 
Relax his ponderous strength, and lean to 

hear; 
The host himself no longer shall be found 
Careful to see the mantling bliss go round; 
Nor the coy maid. " 



CHAPTER IV 

Publicity Bureau Answered 

When ,the villagers were struggling in the 
white heat of a mid-summer season in the huts 
to maintain their ordinary human rights, the 
Government of Madras, enjoying on the 
Olympion heights of Ooty, coolly kept quiet with- 
out once reviewing its act of misbehaviour to- 
wards a vast population of 15,000 human souls, 
in the light of the altered circumstances of the 
case. On the other hand, a statement was issued 
by the Publicity Bureau, Madras,* defending the 
Government's action and attributing the whole 
trouble to the non-co-operators. The reasons — if 
reasons they are — forwarded on behalf of the 
Government by the Publicity Bureau are, to 
put it mildly, mischievous, if not meaningless. 

The Publicity Bureau says because the 
Sanitary Commissioner recommended the con- 
stitution of the municipality on grounds of public 
health, therefore the Government acted on his 

* Vide Appendix I. 



PUBLICITY BUREAU ANSWERED 17 

suggestion. This contention betrays woeful 
ignorance of the conditions of the villages on 
the part of a Sanitary Commissioner. Did 
he mean to say that the union was not taking 
an active interest in the work of sanitation? 
Did he compare the statistics of births, deaths and 
infectious diseases spread in the villages with 
those of other municipal towns and villages? 
Indeed, it is true that plague infected these vill- 
ages in 1918. But this is directly attributable to 
the importation of it from big cities and towns, 
Bombay, Ahmedabad, Bezwada, and Guntur, 
Only 25 deaths occurred from plague in Chirala 
and its surrounding villages. Why not the 
Government convert the municipalities of 
Guntur and Bezwada into corporations for they 
have betrayed their inability of administering 
their areas when plague infected ? For the 
matter of that Bapatla, Vetapalem unions, and 
the areas of some other non-unions too were 
infected with plague. Then why does not the 
Government turn them into municipalities so 
that money might be found "for the improve- 
ment of sanitation " of those infected areas ? 
Why did the Governmentseparate Jandrapet, a 
place infected with plague from Chirala munici- 
pality and awarded it a union ? When every 
2 



18 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

body knows that to evacuate a place infected 
with plague is the best and wise thing for one 
to do, it is strange to hear the absurd statement 
that the plague-infected area should be convert- 
ed into a municipality. Let the reader judge 
for himself the soundness of this argument 
forwarded by an apologetic Publicity Bureau on 
behalf of tlie Government of Madras ! 

I invite the reader's attention to read 
Appendix II, a statement made in reply to the 
Publicity Bureau by the Secretary, the Andhra 
Provincial Congress Committee, in which the 
Secretary, in a well-reasoned and logical 
manner, refutes the contentions of the Bureau,, 
argument by argument, and clearly proves the 
gross neglect paid by the Government in this 
matter, and how a ''prestige-ridden" bureaucracy 
tries to override "the wishes of the people 
expressed emphatically and un-ambiguously." 

Suppose (a moment please!) the arguments 
of the Bureau are right and a municipality 
should be established at Chirala. What are the 
benefits that the Chirala people accrue from a 
municipality ? The benefits are — 

(1) to bear the expenses of a school and 
hospital maintained by the Taluk Board in the 
past days, (2) to have a permanent vaccinator. 



PUBLICITY BUREAU ANSWERED 19 

(3) to have a registrar of births and deaths (this 
work used to be done by the village munsiff 
under the union), (4) to have a sanitary 
inspector and building experts, (5) to have an 
Overseer with his establishment, (6) to have a 
manager, an accountant, a tax-clerk, a warrant 
officer, a typist, a shroff, etc. (The work of all 
these used to be done effectively by a clerk on a 
salary of Rs. 18 a month under the union). In 
short the expenses on all these items (excluding 
hospitals and school) approximately comes up to 
Rs. 14,500 a year. On the other hand the whole 
work was done by the union with Rs. 4,000 a 
year. Is it not a reckless wastage of money of 
the poor villagers under the municipality ? This 
is the blessing the Government bestows on the 
villagers and for which they are maltreated 
without pity ! 

The Bureau contends why the Taluk Board 
should pay for the expenses of the hospital and 
other conveniences in Chirala. It should be 
stated that the hospital at Chirala is intended 
for the use of the whole district. The villages 
possess 30 or 35 good Ayurvedic physicians who 
treat the villagers of their petty diseases. 
Except in serious and complicated cases, none 
of the villagers had any necessity to go to the 



20 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

Board's Hospital. An examination of the atten- 
dance register at the hospital reveals that 
people from outside the villages form a large 
majority of the cases attending the hospital. 

When hospitals at various places in other 
unions are being maintained by Taluk Boards^ 
is it a special rule laid down by the Government 
of Madras that Chirala should maintain its own 
hospital ? Are not schools, as a rule, maintained 
by Taluk Boards in union and non-union areas? 
Thus we see this argument of the Bureau also is 
devoid of meaning. 

The Bureau says also, as, in 1918, the Union. 
Chairman advised constitution of a municipality 
and as the District Board supported the chair- 
man's finding, hence the Government establish- 
ed a municipality. India is a land of mysteries. 
Local self-government is an anamoly in India. 
The people have no right in choosing their own 
oificials in local administration but nomination 
is the order of the day. A nominated member on 
the Union, Council, or Assembly is a Johukum 
wallah^ begs the Bureaucracy for favours, acts 
according to the wishes of the Bureaucracy and 
meekly submits to everything the Bureaucracy 
says or does. There may be exceptions to the 
rule here and there but on the whole, it is the 



PUBLICITY BUREAU ANSWERED 21 

general rule which could not be contradicted b^ 
any one, nay, not even by the Bureau. 

Probably the Bureau does not know that the 
people protested against the nomination of the 
said person as the Union Chairman when he was 
appointed to the post. The members of the 
union too were nominated by the Government. 
It is this union with its chairman, a man hated 
by the people, at its head recommended the 
constitution of a municipality ! This is the form 
of Local self-government we are enjoying 
under the British Rule during the last half- 
a- century and more ! 

What wonder is there if the District Board 
accepts the proposal of the Union Chairman, 
who is after all a member of the same District 
Board ! In 1915 the same District Board resolved 
that Chirala should not have a municipality. 
Then what unearthly things have occurred in 
the meanwhile for the District Board to change 
its opinion ? Is it on account of plague infect- 
ion ? We have discussed about it before and 
shown the futility of that contention. Is it to 
please the Higher Authorities ? Let the Dis- 
trict Board answer! Jandrapet, one of the 
plague infected areas in 1918 was in the old 
union* Why should it be separated and made 



22 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

a union ? Did the District Board recommend 
to do like that ? Or is it an inexplicable whim of 
the Presiding Deity of the " prestige- ridden '' 
Bureaucracy of Madras ? 

Even taking into consideration the number of 
houses in the Chirala Union, we do not find it 
reasonable to convert it into a municipality. The 
Old Chirala Union consists of 4,529 houses of all 
classes : Bapatla Union possesses 2,245 houses 
and Ponur Union 2,180 houses. The total num- 
ber of houses in the Chirala Union may seem to 
be great in number but if we go into details we 
find the reverse of it. The number of first five 
classes of houses in Chirala- Perala excluding 
those of Jandrapet is 400, while Bapatla has 
434, and Ponur 546. We see that the number 
of valuable houses in Chirala-Perala is meagre 
compared with the other two unions. When, on 
an examination, we find that 400 houses (of the 
five classes) constitute Chirala-Perala is it justifi- 
able to force a municipality upon them ? Taking 
on an average 4 people to live in each house, and 
deducting 1,600 rich men from a total popula- 
tion of 18,000, we see that 16,400 poor souls live 
in Chirala-Perala. Did the Goverment think 
of this aspect of the question at all before 
establishing the municipality ? Did the Sanitary 



PUBLICITY BUREAU ANSWERED 23 

Commissioner recommend to constitute a muni- 
cipality taking into consideration the above in- 
contestable statistical figures ? Or did the 
Government get, as a matter of course, the usual 
assent of the District Board and the Union 
Chairman to convert the Union into a Munici- 
pality ? Let us admit that the Government pays 
scrupulous and respectful regard to the recom- 
mendations of the District Board and Union 
Chairman and Sanitary Commissioner. On the 
express recommendation of the Sanitary Com- 
missioner and District Board, the Repalli Union 
has been converted into a municipality. The 
Repalli people protested. The Government 
prohibited meetings under Section 144, Criminal 
Procedure Code. But the agitation continued 
and at last the Minister issued a notification 
that the Repalli Municipality would be abolished 
very soon ! The Minister naively speaks out 
that Repalli has no urban interests and it is 
a rural area. And yet the Government seems 
to think of establishing a Munsiff's Court there ! 
If the minister acted to the contrary in the 
question of Repalli Muncipality, the constitu- 
tion of which was recommended by the 
District Board and the Sanitary Commis- 
sioner, then what obstacles are in his way to 



24 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

rescind the orders in the case of Chirala-Perala ? 
Oh ! I forget. It is a matter of prestige ? No 
sound reason can be given for enforcement of a 
municipality on Chirala-Perala but that the 
minister is not willing to yield to the just 
agitation of the people. 

In this righteous struggle up till now eleven 
men and an old woman who refused to pay 
taxes went into jail for 20 days. The village 
karnam, Mr. Chirala Rangayya resigned his 
post and suffered a rigorous imprisonment of 3 
months. Two more are at present in jail. We 
do not find a greater mockery of justice as we 
witness in some of the cases of Chirala people. 
Some of the people have been sentenced to 
imprisonment ranging from days to months, 
and they are told by the presiding officer to go 
home, stay there, and await their arrests. One 
of those men who received a sentence of 
imprisonment wrote to the presiding officer 
that he wanted to go to Benares on a visit and 
asked him when he would get the warrant of 
arrest so that after he served the term of 
imprisonment he might purge the sins of his 
stay in a British prison with a bath in the 
Ganges at Benares. 

In August last the Minister proposed that the 



PUBLICITY BUREAU ANSWERED 25 

villagers of Chirala-Perala, retaining the 
name of municipality may tax themselves, 
Rs. 4,000 only and do the work of the union as 
before. This " condescension " must be charac- 
terised as hypocrisy, pure and simple. How 
could the work of a municipality be carried on 
with the collections of a union ? This kind of 
tactics is certainly unworthy on the part of a 
minister and it speaks of the mentality of those 
who, enjoying pelf and authority, worshipping 
the Deity of Prestige, override mercilessly the 
legitimate rights and wishes of their own 
countrymen. 

The Bureau alleges that '' after a careful 
examination of the situation he (the minister) 
came to the conclusion that the agitation for 
the abolition of the municipality was fictitious " 
and that " apparently under the influence of the 
non-co-operators and some of the rich mer- 
chants " the people agitated for the dissolution 
of the municipality. Whenever and whatever 
opposition comes to Government from any 
quarter, there i the influence of some non-co- 
operator is attributed as a reason for it. This 
has become a matter of daily occurrence in 
India. You find the same thing at Malabar, at 
Contai and other places. We have grown sick 



26 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

with this ever-repeated-but-contradicted charge 
against non-co-operators. We have repudiated 
it many a time and yet the Government blindly 
asserts the repudiated myth. Suppose the non- 
co-operator is at the bottom of it at Chirala- 
Perala. Why is not the Government sensible 
enough to win over the villagers to its side by 
the abolition of the municipality ? Why did 
the Government repress the villagers and has 
driven them into the fold of the non-co-opera- 
tor ? The non-co-operator never said that he 
would boycott the municipality. It is expressly 
laid down that a non-co-operator should contest 
the seats of election on the municipalities and 
convert them into powerful organisations of 
non-co-operation. How could we believe that 
the non-co-operator is the mischief-maker in 
Chirala-Perala affair, when we witness the 
villagers waiting in a deputation on a minister ? 
For a non-co-operator should not seek help from 
the blood-stained hands of an alien bureaucracy. 
To say that non-co-operation is responsible for 
the Chirala-Perala tragedy is blasphemous. 



CHAPTER V. 

The Hero of Chirala-Perala 

The noble hero of Chirala-Perala, Ramdas 
Duggirala Gopalakrishnayya, was born at 
Peruganchiprole (Nandigama Taluk, Kistna 
District). His father was a teacher and poor 
young Gopalakrishna lost his mother on the 
third day of his birth. Then his father re- 
married but he too expired one-and-half years 
after the re-marriage. Young Gopalakrishna 
has been brought up from his childhood by his 
grand-mother who tenderly loves the boy very 
much. She became father and mother to him 
and Gopalakrishna in return for her deep 
affection tries his best to make her happy in her 
last days. 

Educated by his uncle he studied till Matricu- 
lation Class in Town High School, Guntur. 
He failed in theMatriculation examination thrice 
owing to his waywardness and sportive com- 
pany. Seeing this his uncle removed him to 



28 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

Bapatla where, after a diligent study, he passed 
the Matriculation of the Madras University. 
Then he served as a clerk in the Taluk Office 
at Bapatla for a year, in which task he proved 
his incapacity to do the drudgery. He wrote a 
letter to his guardian in strong language that 
it would be wise to beg in streets than be a 
clerk in a Government Office where independ- 
ence and the power of initiative would be des- 
troyed by the spiritless and lifeless routine of 
the day. He requested his guardian to give him 
permission to resign and allow him to take up 
higher studies. Being a shrewd man, his 
guardian did not force him to be a clerk 
and assented to his proposal. Gopalakrishna 
resigned, joined in Intermediate Class in the 
College at Guntur but did not prosecute his 
studies till he completed his course. Giving up 
his studies he became a teacher in a mission's 
school and afterwards went to Scotland to 
study at the Edinburgh University. He received 
the M.A. diploma in History and Economics 
and tasting the pleasures and pains of 
Western life he returned to India after a stay 
of five years. On his arrival he was appointed 
as a Professor at the Training College, Rajah- 
mundry, which he gave up owing to a hitch 



THE HERO OF CHIRALA-PERALA 29 

with the principal. Then he joined the Andhra 
Jateeya Kalasala as a teacher and left it too 
after some time. 

He had an idea of starting a paper " Sadhana " 
and for this purpose he bought a press and 
obtained a security-less declaration both for the 
paper and the press. As his wife was a sickly 
girl, he wanted to take her to a healthy resort 
where she could recoup her health and staying 
there permanently he might start the paper.. 
He chose Chirala as the best place for him with 
healthy climatic conditions. On his arrival at 
Chirala with his family, everybody, except the 
doctor, was new to him. Slowly he acquainted 
himself with hisneighours and became 

" to all the country dear. 

And passing rich with forty pounds a year; 

Remote from towns he ran his godly race. 

Nor e'er had changed, nor wished to change, his 
place ; 

Unpractised he to fawn, or seek for power, 

By doctrines fashioned to the varying hour; 

Far other aims his heart had learned to prize, 

More skilled to raise the wretched than to rise; 

His house was known to all the vagrant train; 

He chid their wanderings, but relieved their 
pain ; 

The long-remember'd beggar was his guesti 



30 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

Whose beard descending swept his agedbreaet; 
The ruined spendthrift, now no longer proud, 
Claimed kindred there, and had his claims 
allowed ; 



Pleased with his guests, the good man learned 

to glow, 
And quite forgot their vices in their woe ; 
Careless their merits or their faults to scan, 
His pity gave ere charity began. 



And, as a bird each fond endearment tries 
To tempt its new-fledged offspring to the skies. 
He tried enchantment, reproved each dull 
delay, 

Allured to brighter worlds, and led the way." 
Everything vs^ent on quite happily when, the 
Madras Government suddenly declared to con- 
vert the Chirala Union into a Municipality. 
The villagers looked up to Gopalakrishna who 
became their friend, guide, and philosopher in 
their distress. He advised the people to petition 
to the Government, spoke personally with the 
Government officials, in fact, he did his best to 
do everything in his power both to help the 
people and the Government to be on good 



THE HERO OF CHIRALA-PERALA 31 

terms. But the Government persisted and the 
municipality was established. He advised the 
people to boycott the municipality and be non- 
violent in their struggle. He impressed on their 
minds on all occasions the necessity of non- 
violence ; and knowing pretty well the human 
nature he organised Ranidandu ( " A Peaceful 
Army " ) whose duty is to do social service 
to their brethren and to maintain peace in the 
villages. Through this organisation he prevent- 
ed the people losing their patience from tha 
provoking pin-pricks of the Bureaucracy. 
At meetings 

"With meek and unaffected grace, 
His looks adorned the venerable place ; 
Truth from his lips prevailed with double sway 
And fools, who came to scoff, remained to pray. 
The service past, around the pious man, 
With steady zeal, each honest rustic ran ; 
E'en children followed with endearing wile, 
And plucked his gown, to share the good mans ' 

smile. 
His ready smile permits warmth expressed ; 
Their welfare pleased him, and their cares 

distressed .' 
To them his heart, his Jove, his griefs were 

given, 
But all his serious thoughts had rest in heaven." 



32 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

When the fight with the Government took a 
serious turn and when it came to a question of 
application of civil disobedience or Desatyag he 
thought over the matter for a fortnight or more- 
revolving in his mind the serious nature of the 
step he would have to take in the matter. He 
felt diffident about the patience of the people if 
their properties would be attached before their 
very eyes, and resolved to carry out Desatyag, 
He consulted the elders of the town and at last 
definitely declared for Desatyag, At his call, 
men, women, and children gathering their pro- 
perties, some carrying on their heads, some 
on carriages, quitted the villages, as though 
plague infected the villages, to live in huts out- 
side the outskirts of the municipality. It is a 
sight for Gods to see those unhappy people 
leaving their sweet homes to worship freely at 
the pure shrine of self-determination. 

" Good Heaven ! What sorrows gloomed that 

parting day, 
That called them from their native walks away: 
When the poor exiles ; every pleasure pasti 
Hung round the bowers, and fondly looked 

their last, 
And took a long farewell." 
Amidstthat noble band, there were men 'with, 
hoary hair,' and 



THE HERO OF CHIRALA-PERALA 33 

" There was woman's fearless eye, 

Lit by her deep love's truth ; 

There was manhood's brow serenely highi 

And the fiery heart of youth." 

Gopalakrishna appealed to the rich men of 
Andhradesh to help the Chirala-Perala souls 
with money so that they might spend it in con- 
structing huts and live an unhampered, free life. 
The Andhras responded to the appeal generous- 
ly and the Andhra, Provincial Congress Com- 
mittee voted Ps. 3,000. A Committee was form- 
ed to maintain order and peace in the colony 
and everyone obeyed the injunctions of the 
Committee. 

On 24th September last the Andhra Con- 
ferences were held at Berhampore. Gopala- 
krishna went there to bring " Sanjivi " (money) 
to his Chirala-Perala brethren. Alleging that 
he made violent speeches, the District Collector 
of Ganjam ordered him under Section 144, 
Criminal Procedure Code not to deliver speeches 
till one month in his jurisdiction. But Gopala- 
krishna fearlessly disobeyed the said order on 
29th September giving intimation of it to the 
Collector a day before. At last on 1st October 
he was arrested at the Berhampore Railway 

*Vide Appendix III. 
3 



34 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

Station and his trial was held at Chicacole 
Koad. The Collector asked Gopalakrishna to 
give security and he, having refused, was sen- 
tenced to one year's simple imprisonment. 

The news of his arrest flashed across the 
country with lightning rapidity and the whole 
country congratulated him from many plat- 
forms. He sent messages to his brethren at 
Chirala-Perala to continue the struggle peaceful- 
ly to the end and he would be praying for their 
success during his stay in the gaol. He sent 
another message to his countrymen that they 
should be prepared even to die and establish 
Swaraj before the end of this year. The Chirala- 
Perala people congratulated him and resolved 
to maintain his family till he would return 
back free. 

Gopalakrishna is thirty summers old. A 
stalwart man as he is, he wears pure Khadder 
dhoty, a Khadder turban, and beads of rudraksha 
around his neck. He looks like Ramdas (the 
servant of Rama.). He sings poems and 
slokams in praise of Shri Ramachandra 
and at all meetings he attends he induces the 
people to give up the western method of shout- 
ing, and cry " Shrimad Rama Ramana 
Govindo Hari/' (Let Creation, Protection and 



THE HERO OF CHIRALA-PERALA 35 

Destruction go on.) He teaches Bhakti cult to 
the young men and women in the Andhradesh 
and picturing to them the noble personality of 
Hanuman he appeals to the people to be true 
-servants of the country. He is humour incar- 
nate and everybody, who has heard him, must 
confess he has been a great source of pleasure 
to the people. He used to keep them laughing 
so that they might not become morbid and 
desperate when they think of their slavish con- 
dition of life. He believes that the duty of 
a leader is to go forward, risking all hazards 
even to his life : and this is the reason why 
when some of his friends have expressed their 
doubts about non- violent aspect of the struggle 
in Palnad forest-affairs, he reprimanded thus : 

** Your duty is to see that no violence is done. 
You must risk even your life to maintain non- 
violence. If the people assure you that they be 
non-violent then you think of going to Palnad 
and taking up the leadership ! ! That is the 
way with the cowards. When you doubt there 
occurs violence go and try your level best that no 
violence is done. Then only you are fit to be 
a leader of the people." •; 

He was awarded the title of Andhra Ratna 
at the Guntur District Conference. He wrote 



36 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

a book jointly with Dr. A. K. Coomaraswamy 
on Dancing. 

When I was travelling with Gopalakrishna 
to Berhampore during the month of September 
last to visit the Andhra Conferences he 
divulged to me some of his secret thoughts- 
and opinions on men and matters in a 
frank, sincere and appealing manner. He con- 
fessed, with tears in his eyes, he had done many 
sins in his life but now he felt happy havings 
" purged away the foreign matter." He has- 
done his duty to his country and has become 
its servant. He expressed to me that property 
is murder and to down- trod the poor is a crime 
against humanity. 

When he was going to Trichinopoly to be locat-- 
ed in the gaol there, I met him at Bezwada 
Station, and he, taking his photo from me 
signed his autograph with a smile. He appeal- 
ed to his friends to take care of his Chirala- 
Perala brethren, to be brave, and face even 
death for the sake of establishing Swaraj before 
the month of December ends- He humourously 
asked his friends to get jail certificates at an 
early date. As the train steamed out of the 
station, I saw him standing like the obedient 
Hanuman, hands-folded, smiling bidding good 



THE HERO OF CHIRALA-PERALA 37 

bye to us all. As one of his lovely opponents 
remarked to me, "A great and important 
figure quits the stage of Andhra life and we 
feel his absence for sometime to come." Even 
his worst enemies had nothing to say against 
him but pour their torrents of mild praise on 
him out of their jealous hearts. 

Ere long, I hope, he will come out with a 
philosophy of his own to teach his countrymen 
and may God bless him with long and healthy 
life so that he might successfully complete the 
work allotted unto him by his Creator. 



EPILOGUE 

In these pages I have traced the course of the^ 
noble struggle till Gopalakrishna's arrest and 
imprisonment. I will deal in the second part of 
the book with the new prosecutions that are 
going on and in what manner the fight ends. 

Having been masters at applying the insi- 
dious policy of Divide at impera, the Govern- 
ment at the present moment are trying their 
best to prevail upon a portion of the population 
to return to the deserted villages, now giving 
hopes of appointments, then by gentle pursua- 
sion, and lastly by threats. The accused in the 
new prosecutions are determined to enter the 
gaols rather than give taxes to a municipality 
enforced on them at the point of a bayonet. 
The Government, as is evident, believe in re- 
pression as their sole remedy and think that if 
they punish the influential people in Chirala- 
Perala (new colony), the remaining population 
could be prevailed upon to come back to the 
deserted villages. We cannot help feeling pity 



EPILOGUE 39 

at the perverted mentality of the Bureaucracy 
for probably they do not know that repression 
is a strong dose to make the people determined 
to fight to the end. The Government stand 
condemned before the bar of public opinion for 
the atrocious manner in which they are treat- 
ing 18,000 poor, wretched souls without a dram 
of pity on them. We have heard the tall-talk of 
justice and equity for a long time and are dis- 
gusted to see it tomtom ed by the Viceroy, the 
Ex-chief Justice of England, without witnessing 
it in the practical field. What will he say if 
he sees five thousand men, homeless and wretch- 
ed, willing to die to maintain their birth-right 
of self-determination, yet starving and prepar- 
ing themselves to front with joy the coming 
awful winter cold ? What will he say if he 
sees five thousand mothers living in misery and 
squalor, struggling to earn enough to feed their 
little children ? What will he say if he sees 
five thousand children giving up their sportly 
lives, wearing out their strength, and nursing 
hatred towards those who blasted their lives ? 
\Yhat will he say if he sees a thousand of old 
people, cast off and helpless, waiting for death 
to take them from their earthly troubles ? What 
will he say if he sees fifteen thousand men 



40 THE CHmALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

women, and children, who desiring not to 
submit to an unjust and enforced measure, toil 
every hour they can stand and see for just 
enough to keep them alive, who are condemned 
to monotony and weariness, to hunger and 
misery, and to heat and cold ? Has Justice run 
amok in the case of these helpless people ? 
Have those in power no hearts to sympathise 
with and allieviate the sufferings of these miser- 
able people ? Do they not feel for these unhappy 
villagers while living in their palaces, rioting in 
luxury and extravagance — " such as no words 
can describe, as makes the imagination reel 
and stagger, makes the soul grow sick and 
faint ? Cannot the authorities abolish the muni- 
cipality and yield to the righteous agitation of 
the people once in their life ? What stands in 
their way to dissolve the municipality which 
nobody requires ? Do they fear that they lose 
their prestige ? Then woe unto those who wor- 
ship the devil — 

'' Blood on his heavenly altar flows, 

Hell's burning incense fills the air, 

And Death attests in street and lane, ^ 

The hideous glory of his reign.'* 

We believe the Local Governmeut will not 
retrace its steps in this affair for we do not see 



EPILOGUE 41 

any signs til] the present moment. The whole 
matter rests on a " Justice-loving " Viceroy. 
If he really believes in truth and justice, let 
him get down from the Elysian heights of 
Simla and personally undertake investigation 
into this tragedy. Let him judge for himself 
the righteousness or otherwise of his lieutenants* 
work and let him undo the mischief that is done. 
If even he remains mute and dumb, then we, 
mortals, must bid adieu to the higher authorities 
and be prepared to die in maintenance of our 
legitimate rights and liberties.' We must leave 
ourselves into the hands of the Almighty and 
grope on in the darkness of misery and poverty 
exclaiming, O ! Autocracy ! 

*' Thou curst by Heaven's decree, 
How ill exchanged are things like these for 
thee! 

How do thy potions, with insidious joy, 
Diffuse their pleasures only to destroy ! 
Kingdoms by thee, to sickly greatness growni 
Boast of a florid vigour not their own, 
At every draught more large and large they 
grow, 

A. bloated mass of rank, unwieldy woe ; 
Till sapped their strength, and every part un- 
sound, 



42 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

Down, down they sinki and spread a ruin 

round." 

Yes! Autocracy will never listen to the 

counsels of History, ranges itself against the 

people, digs its own grave, and buries itself 

" unwept, unhonoured, and unsung." • 



APPENDIX I 

THE CHIRALA MUNICIPALITY 
The Publicity Bureau Statement 

The supersession of the Chirala Municipality 
has excited considerable comment in the news- 
papers. The public may like to know the cir- 
cumstances in which the place was constituted 
as a Municipality and the reasons why it 
was decided to supersede the municipal council. 

Chirala is the largest town in the Guntur 
District next to Guntur itself. At the census of 
1911 it had a population of 22,000. It has a 
flourishing weaving and dyeing industry and it 
is also one of the biggest trade centres in the dis- 
trict. The place, however, is very congested and 
the Deputy Sanitary Commissioner who visited 
the town in July 1914, severely commented on 
the insanitary condition of the town and strong- 
ly recommended the conversion of the Union 
into a Municipality as the only possible means 



44 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

of improving its sanitation, the resources of the 
Union being quite inadequate for the purpose. 
In January J 915, the District Board discussed 
the question of converting it into a Municipality 
and came to the conclusion that the proposal 
was premature. The Government did not 
therefore accept the recommendation of the 
Deputy Sanitary Commissioner. 

In 1917 plague broke out in a virulent form 
in Chirala and spread to all the neighbouring 
places in the taluk and even Ongole was infect- 
ed. In 1918 the Union Chairman himself 
reopened the question and submitted a formal 
proposal for the conversion of the Union into a 
municipality. The Taluk Board discussed the 
matter at a meeting held in June 1918 and 
approved of the proposal. Meanwhile some of 
the rich merchants of Chirala strongly protest- 
ed against the change and so the question was 
re- discussed at a special meeting of the Taluk 
Board in August 1918. The Taluk Board by a 
large majority adhered to its original resolution. 

The subject was placed before the District 
Board in September 1918 and the Board unani- 
mously supported the proposal, although three 
years before it had come to the conclusion that 
it was premature. The Government carefully 



THE CHIRALA MUNICIPALITY 45 

considered the objections raised by some of the 
inhabitants of the place. Tiie population of 
Chirala was more than that of 24 other towns 
which were under municipal administration, 
and it was in every way a more advanced place 
than several municipalities. The resources of the 
Union were quite inadequate for the improve- 
ment of the sanitation of the place, which was 
becoming a breeding place of epidemics. Plague 
had already broken out and the neighbouring 
places also had suffered, because the Chirala 
Union could not keep Chirala in a sanitary con- 
dition. After a consideration of all these 
circumstances the Government came to the 
conclusion that the opinion of the Taluk Board 
and the District Board should prevail. The 
town was therefore formally constituted as a 
Municipality in November 1919. 

The inhabitants of the place presumably 
accepted the decision of the Government for 
there was no further agitation against the 
Municipality until September 1920, when some 
non-co-operators took advantage of the natural 
reluctance of the people to pay additional 
taxes and revived the agitation against the 
municipality. Ten out of the twelve councillors 
resigned and municipal administration was 



46 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

brought to a standstill. The Hon. the Minister 
for Local Self Government himself visited the 
place, discussed the situation with the leading 
residents of the place, and made personal 
enquiries into their alleged grievances. He also 
offered to exempt agricultural cattle and land 
from municipal taxation. This should have 
satisfied the poorer residents of the place but 
apparently under the influence of the non-co- 
operators and some of the rich merchants and 
money-lenders, the offer was rejected. After a 
careful examination of the situation he came 
to the conclusion that the agitation for the 
abolition of the municipality was fictitious and 
that the town should continue to be a munici- 
pality in the interests of public health. The 
Government, therefore, decided to supersede 
the municipal council and appoint a paid 
officer to discharge the duties of the council and 
its chairman. 

If the Government had decided otherwise, 
what would be the alternative? The Govern- 
ment might abolish the municipality and res- 
tore the Union, but this would not solve the 
difficulties that gave rise to the proposal for the 
constitution of a Municipality. Money has to 
be found for the improvement of the sanitation 



THE CHIRALA MUNICIPALITY 47 

of the town not merely in the interests of the 
inhabitants of Chirala, but also of those of 
the neighbouring places ; for, if any epidemic 
breaks out at Chirala it is sure to spread to the 
neighbouring villages. The ordinary resources 
of the Union are quite insufficient for the pur- 
pose and either the Government would be com- 
pelled to extend the provisions of the District 
Municipalities Act relating to taxation to 
the Union or the Taluk Board would have to 
supply the money. If the former course were 
adopted, the ratepayers would have to pay 
exactly the same taxes that they now do but 
they would not have an independent status or 
the other advantages which a municipal ad- 
ministration implies. This would hardly be 
acceptable to them, for the main grievances of 
the people is against the additional taxes. As 
regards the second course, it is for the Taluk 
Board to decide whether it should pay for all 
the conveniences that the people of Chirala 
enjoy. The poverty of Taluk Boards is well- 
knowm and the only way by which they can 
find money is by the levy of an additional cess 
on land. The views of the Taluk Board are 
indicated in the following extracts from the 
letter of the President of the Ongole Taluk 



48 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

Board, dated 23rd August 1918, in which the 
Board's resolution strongly recommending the 
conversion of the Union into a Municipality was 
conveyed to the District Board. 

"Taxes collected elsewhere are now being spent 
on hospitals, schools, roads, markets, etc., in 
Chirala town where the inhabitants can afford 
to look to their wants and there is no reason 
why they should not be made to pay for their 
own comforts. For the above reasons the Taluk 
Board strongly recommends the conversion of 
the union into a Municipality." 

It will be observed from what has been stated 
above that the point involved is not whether a 
municipality should be forced on Chirala but 
whether the Taluk Board or the residents of 
Chirala should pay for the hospital and the 
other conveniences which they enjoy and for 
the improvement of the sanitation of Chirala' 
which is an urgent necessity. Should Chirala 
and its rich merchants, who are demanding the 
abolition of the Municipality, pay for those 
advantages to the town or should the poor ryot 
outside Chirala for them? That is the issue 
involved in this agitation for the abolition of 
the Municipality. 



APPENDIX II. 

THE REAL ISSUE ABOUT CHIRALA 

A REPLY TO THE PUBLrCITY BUREAU'S 
STATEMENT 

1. The allegations of the Publicity Bureau 
are incorrect in several respects and are calcu- 
lated to mislead the public regarding the 
attitude of the people of Chirala towards the 
constitution and continuance of the Municipa- 
lity. 

2. Chirala is not a single town. The old 
Union consisted of four villages — Chirala, 
Perala, Jandrapet, and Old Chirala. Perala is 
about a mile, Jandrapet about 21/^ miles, and 
Old Chirala about two miles from Chirala 
Proper. 

3. The i statement about population is also 
incorrect. The population of all these places 
put together according to the census of J 911 was 
18,618 and not 22,000, in 1919-20 it was only 
18,600. 

5 



50 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

4. Of the four villages only the first two were 
constituted into a Municipality their population 
at the commencement of the Municipality being 
13,500 ; It is widely believed that the other two 
places as well as a few houses in Chirala Proper 
were excluded from the municipal limits in 
deference to the wishes of the American Mission- 
aries who possess extensive interests therein. 

5. Chirala Municipality is not the second 
town in the district. It stands fourth in the 
list, Tenali with a population of about 23,000 
and Ongol& with a population of about 16,000, 
coming second and third respectively, 

6. Chirala is not a flourishing trade-centre. 
Inconsiderable at any time, its trades in cotton 
fabrics declined during and after the war. 

7. As regards the sanitation it is not a 
congested place. It possesses "a typically porous 
sandy soil " which absorbs the drainage water. 
Very good water is available for drinking and 
other purposes during all seasons of the year 
and never was any scarcity felt. It has a cool 
and salubrious climate. Plague was imported 
into Chirala in 1918, 1919 as into so many other 
towns big and small in the Andhradesa. It 
did not recur in subsequent years. The first 
town to be affected in Andhradesa was 



THE REAL ISSUE ABOUT CHIRALA 51 

Bezwada which has been a well- equipped 
Municipality for over 40 years. For the matter 
of that, it has been prevalent in large cities 
like Poona, Bombay, Hyderabad and Bangalore 
for years continuously in spite of the existence 
of efficient municipal councils. So the reason 
assigned by the Bureau for the imperative need 
of forcing a Municipality on Chirala is un- 
tenable, 

8. As regards official and non-official opinion 
about the fitness of Chirala to be constituted 
into a Municipality, the Bureau's failure to refer 
to the opinion of the Hon. N. E. Marjoribanks, 
I.C.S., is significant. Before the War, he report- 
ed against such constitution and the District 
Board endorsed his view in 1915. Evidently, 
no change in the natural situation of Chirala 
or its attendant advantages had occurred to 
justify the change in the Board's view in 1918. 
Quite possibly, it registered the Decrees of 
superior authority. In any case, the views of 
the semi-officialised Taluk and District Boards 
do not truly represent the views of the people, 
and in this particular case, their decision can 
not carry much weight inasmuch as they were 
anxious to shift their pecuniary responsibility 
in the matter of roads, hospital and education 



52 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

on to the shoulders of the poor inhabitants of 
Chirala. Last year the Sub-Collector of Ongole 
recommended its abolition. 

9. That Chirala is a poor place is evident 
from the following figures ; — 

I. The average annual tax in the Union was 
Re. 1-5-9 per house and about As, 4 per head 
while that in the adjacent Union of Vetapalem 
with a population of 10,582 was Re. 1-5-9 per 
house and Re. 0-5-4 per head, and that in Pennur 
it was Rs. 1-14-4 and Re. 0-7-10. The average 
for the Unions in the district was Rs. 2 per 
house and As. 8 per head. 

II. Of the 4,529 houses, in Chirala Union,, 
only 200 were classed in the first four classes 
liable to pay Rs. 4 per annum and above 
and the total tax realised from them was only 
Rs. 1,177. 2,548 houses were entered in classes 8 
and 9 liable to pay As. 4 and As. 8 per year, 
fetching altogether Rs. 862-4-0. 

III. About 90 per cent, of the population 
live by dyeing and weaving which bring them 
a bare living wage. 

IV. The agricultural lands are poor. Of 
manufacturing activities, there is only one rice 
factory and nothing else. 

10. The Municipality was established in 



THE REAL ISSUE ABOUT CHIRALA 53 

January 1920 and not in November 1919, The 
Government announced its intention of making 
Chirala a Municipality on 16th September 1919. 
The people protested by telegram on 16th 
October 1919 and followed it up by a memorial 
which exhaustively dealt with the situation 
and afforded complete proof of the undesira- 
bility of converting it into a Municipality. 
The Union Chairman who is reported to have 
sent up a resolution in favour of the conversion 
was a man hated of the people. The people 
intimated to the Government their opinion of 
this person in strongly worded telegrams. He 
and the members of the Union over which he 
presided were nominated by the officials and 
very naturally echoed their views. 

11. When in spite of popular opposition, the 
Government chose to establish the Municipality, 
the people formed themselves into a ratepayers' 
association on 18th February 1920 to mitigate 
the rigour of the municipal visitation. Their first 
official act was to protect against the heavy tax- 
ation. The Chairman and the Councillors, all of 
whom were nominated by the Government, 
levied very high raies. While the income from the 
Union consisting of four villages with a popula- 
tion of 18,600 was about Rs. 4,700 for the year 



54 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

1919-20, the budgeted income for the year 
1919-20, of the newly constituted Municipality 
consisting of only two villages with a popula- 
tion of 13,500 was Rs. 33,136 and actual collec- 
tion for the first half-year came up to the huge 
figure of Rs. 20,500. While the actual expendi- 
ture in the Union for the same period was 
Rs, 4,200, the estimated expenditure of the 
Municipality was Rs. 29,136 and the actual 
expenditure for the first half-year was Rs. 8,008 
which shows that the Municipality added 
enormously to the burdens without causing any 
material improvement in the people's condition. 
Out of this expenditure of Rs. 8008, the costly 
office establishment and miscellaneous charges 
which were the inevitable accompaniments of 
the Municipality consumed Rs. 2,668 while 
public w^orks and lighting were starved with a 
sum of Rs. 550 and the rest was paid for items 
of expenditure hitherto borne by the Taluk and 
District Boards. The total amount proposed to 
be spent on education was only Rs. 1,030 which 
could cover the cost of but one out of the 13 
schools in the place. There w^as already in 
existence a private middle school. Thus the 
Municipality did not add even to the educa- 
tional facilities of Chirala. 



THE REAL ISSUE ABOUT CHIRALA 55 

12. The very fact admitted by the Bureau 
that there are 24 Municipalities with a popula- 
tion smaller than that of Chirala shows that 
both the authorities and the people considered 
Chirala Union unfit for municipal administra- 
tion for a long time, and for that very reason 
did not interfere with the Union which had 
been in existence for over 35 years. The census 
report of 1911 shows that at least 12 towns with 
a population larger than that of Old Chirala 
Union were not made Municipalities. This 
shows that population is not the sole or main 
criterion in the establishment of a Municipality. 

13. As regards medical aid of which much 
capital is sought to be made by the Bureau, the 
local hospital was not intended mainly for the 
inhabitants of Chirala. It served the needs of 
several surrounding villages. The Ongole 
Taluk Board had to its credit only three or four 
hospitals in the two taluks under their jurisdic- 
tion. In view of the fact that the Taluk Boards 
have not established itinerant hospitals, the 
hospitals established by them should be located 
in some place or other and, if in this particular 
instance, the 'Taluk Board pitched upon 
Chirala ' it did not do so at the request of the 
people of Chirala and there is nothing inequita- 



56 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

ble in charging the cost to the Taluk Board, 
The inequity on the other hand, would lie in 
charging it to Chirala solely. The Chirala 
people would gladly get rid of the hospital if it 
is to be had only on condition of maintaining a 
Municipality at the enormous cost of Rs. 40,000 
per year. 

14. The main road that serves Perala and 
Chirala Proper is a portion of the Trunk Road 
that passes between Bapatla and Ongole and is 
not specially laid for these two villages- The 
remarks of the Taluk Board President relied 
upon by the Bureau in this respect are wholly 
beside the point. 

15. The Publicity Bureau tries hard to make 

out that the inhabitants meekly submitted to 

the Municipality till some non-co-operators 

bent on mischief disturbed the placid 

contentment of the masses, and set afloat an 

unreasonable agitation. There is nothing 

strange in this sort of attitude as the Publicity 

Bureau is set up for the express purpose of 

bolstering up the official view. The fact that 

nearly the whole demand for the first half-year 

of 1920 was paid up by the people may tend to 

support the Bureau's view. But the payment 

was necessitated in order to acquire a right of 



THE REAL ISSUE ABOUT CHIRALA 57 

appeal against the oppressive taxation, and, as 
a matter of fact, several appeals were filed. 
The ratepayer's association sent up protest 
after protest and waited in deputation on the 
ex-officio Chairman who paid no heed to them 
all. In addition to this the people were 
prosecuted for merely trivial acts of nuisance 
and heavily fined by the Second-Class Magiste- 
rial Bench. The dyeing yards which had been 
in use from time immemorial were objected to 
by the Chairman and the people were asked to 
prepare their dye-stuffs far away from their 
homes. This caused serious inconvenience and 
hardship. 

16. The high taxation, the frequent and 
frivolous prosecutions, the notices to remove the 
dyeing yards taken together exasperated the 
people and strengthened their determination to 
get rid of the municipality. Finding that their 
protests and memorials were of no avail, they 
resolved to suspend payment of taxes on 
27th December, 1920. 

17. The Minister came to Chirala early in 
February 1921 at about 9 A. M. rested in the 
bungalow 5 yards from the station during the 
day-time and left the place after nightfall. He 
did not inspect the place. He merely tried to 



58 THE CHIRAL4-PERALA TRAGEDY 

preach the justice-party doctrines and create a 
split amongst the people on caste-lines, but 
failed ignominiously. 

18. The municipal, councillors that resigned 
made it clear that they realised the difficulties 
of the people and sympathised with them in 
their efforts to dissolve the municipality. 

19. The Bureau's statement talks glibly 
about applying the municipal rules to major 
unions in certain contingencies. But the 
foregoing statement must have made it 
abundantly clear that the people need not and 
cannot pay any extraordinary charges which 
ought in the nature of things to be borne by 
the Local Boards. 

20. The Publicity Bureau has deliberately 
misstated the whole issue when it framed it in 
the following terms : — 

•'Should Chirala and its rich inhabitants who are 
demanding the abolition of the municipality pay 
for those advantages to the town or should the poor 
ryot outside Chirala pay for them." 

The real issue is " Whether even in the sphere 
of Local Self -Government the views of the 
prestige-ridden Bureaucracy should prevail over 
the wishes of the people expressed emphatically 
and unambiguously ?'* The evacuation, so 



THE REAL ISSUE ABOUT CHIRALA 59 

heroically undertaken and so peacefully 
conducted is a conclusive reply to the allegation 
that the whole trouble is due to a handful 
of mischief-mongering non-co-operators. The 
attempt of the Bureau to create a split between 
the residents of Chirala and the ryots of the 
Taluk Board and to wean away the sympathies 
of the people is bound to fail and has already 
failed. The people in several villages are 
contributing their might to the relief of the 
inhabitants of Chirala. 



APPENDIX III 
^HIRALA-PERALA, THE NEW PHASE 

(ISSUED BY THE PUBLICITY OFFICER, 

THE ANDHRA PROVINCIAL CONGRESS 

COMMITTEE.) 

The struggle at Chirala-Perala for the 
cancellation of the municipality has entered 
on a new phase. After the evacuation and the 
construction of hundreds of sheds for accommod- 
ating the large population, Government seem to 
have determined upon crushing the spirit of the 
people by subjecting them to oppression in new 
and ingenious ways. The Revenue Department 
levied penal cesses in respect of the sheds on 
the ground that they were pitched in Govern- 
ment assessed waste. The rate for each shed is 
Ps. 10-2-6, the value of the sheds themselves 
being about Rs. 26 each. This levy of penalty 
has been made on 41 sheds on pain of eviction. 
We understand that 74 more notices will be 



CHIRALA-PERALA THE NEW PHASE 61 

issued shortly and that 70 more are under 
consideration. 

2. It is well to remember in this connection 
that the evacuation was completed and the 
sheds put up about the first week of May. The 
people have passed these three months in the 
sheds. The summer was unusually severe, the 
maximum temperature being 116 degrees in the 
sheds. During June and July lOJ/^" of rain has 
fallen and most of the sheds are leaking. In spite 
of all these adverse circumstances these brave 
citizens of Chirala-Perala fighting for justice,, 
truth and self-determination, have continued 
their struggle and stood the test most 
admirably. 

3. The Publicity Bureau of the Madras 
Government mentions that for the year 1920-21 
there were 32 income-tax assessees in Chirala- 
Perala and argues that it is evidence of prosper- 
ity. But we understand that the number of 
assessees is only 35 out of a population of 14 to 
15 thousand. The Bureau also tries to make out 
that the municipality was established in order 
to confer on the people the privileges of self- 
Government. But at Chirala-Perala even as at 
Repalli the existence of the municipality has 
meant not the enjoyment by the people of the 



62 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

privileges of self- Government, but the very- 
negation of all self-Government. The people 
prayed, protested and in the end left their 
ancient dwellings rather than submit to a 
municipality which was imposed on them 
against their will. 

4, In the repression at Chirala-Perala, the 
roll of honour is lengthening. Already 12 men 
and 1 woman have served out their term of 
imprisonment for refusing to pay the municipal 
taxes. Three men are now undergoing rigorous 
imprisonment in the Central Jail at Rajah- 
mundry ; six more are awaiting orders of 
incarceration. It is extraordinary that these 
six were sentenced to imprisonment — nearly a 
month ago and the sentence held in abeyance. 
We have not heard of any other instance in 
which convicted persons are quietly told that 
they might go home and await orders, not even 
bail bonds being taken from them. Many more 
in Chirala-Perala are prepared to fill the prisons. 
The struggle is being carried on with 
remarkable vigour and persistence though the 
dislocation of business caused by the evacuation 
and the loss of living in the case of poorer in- 
habitants have entailed serious hardship. 

5. The property of the convicted persons has 



CHIRALA-PERALA THE NEW PHASE 63 

been attached and brought to sale a number of 
times at Bapatla and at Guntur for realising 
the amount of fine levied on them. But no 
bidders have come forward in either place. This 
is an eloquent testimony to the sympathy 
generally felt for the sufferings of the Chirala- 
Perala patriots. 

6. Some legislative councillors seem to be 
vying with each other to secure credit for 
themselves by moving in the Council for the 
^cancellation of the municipality. But let it be 
distinctly understood that their exertions are 
no.t the outcome of any solicitude on the part of 
responsible individuals connected with this 
struggle at Chirala-Perala. 



APPENDIX IV 

THE HERO OF CHIRALA-PERALA 
THE TRIAL SCENE 

MR. GOPALAKRISHNIAH'S 
STATEMENT 

(FROM ANDHRA PROVINCIAL CONGRESS- 
PUBLICITY BUREAU) 

BerHAMPORE, October 1. — We have already 
intimated that Andhraratna Duggirala Gopaia- 
krishniah was arrested on the 1st instant at 
Berhampore station under a warrant issued by 
the District Magistrate of Ganjam for 
" disseminating sedition". The warrant 
mentioned no section. On the 2nd morning he 
was taken to Chicacole Road station to take 
his trial before the District Magistrate. It is 
noteworthy that though a second-class ticket 
was purchased for him the Deputy Superin- 
tendent of Police, insisted of his travelling in 



GOPALAKRISHNIAH'S TRIAL 81 

inter-class. This is a trifle but it shows up the 
mentality of the officials. The trial commenced* 
at 12 noon. The preliminary order under 
section 112 was handed over to Mr. Gopala- 
krishniah just before the commencement of the 
trial whereas in the ordinary course it should 
have been served along with the warrant. The 
preliminary order was as follows : — 

THE TEXT OF NOTICE 

Duggirala Gopalakrishniah of Guntur 
District. 

Whereas information has been laid by the 
District Superintendent of Police, Ganjam, that^ 
on 24th and 26 th September, at the Andhra 
Conference and on 27th September at a mass 
meeting in Berhampore within the limits of 
my jurisdiction, you delivered speeches calculat- 
ed to stir up hatred and contempt of the Govern- 
ment by law established in British India and to 
incite the people to revolt by making an obscene 
remark about the King-Emperor, by comparing 
the Government of Ravana, Bali Chakravarti 
and Hiranyakasyapa and elaborating these 
comparisons with false accusations that the 
present Government has ruined the people of 
the country and asserting that it must and will 
6 



82 THE CHIRALA.-PERALA TRAGEDY 

be destroyed in three months, and further by 
threat of what will happen to those who do now 
support rebellion ; whereas also you sought to 
stir up enmity between the Brahmin and non- 
Brahmin by taunting the Brahmins with their 
alleged miserable conditions and abusing non- 
Brahmins as traitors to their country for co- 
operating with Government ; I hereby call upon 
you to show cause w^hy you should not be 
ordered to furnish security in a sum of Rs. 1,000 
to be of good behaviour for a period of one year, 
with one surety in a like amount. 

(Sd,) T.G.RUTHERFORD, 

District Magistrate, 

2nd October 1921, 

Thus it turned out that the prosecution was 
not in respect of his speech delivered on the 29th 
**in due disobedience" to the District Magistrate's 
order under Section 144 served on Mr. Gopala- 
krishniah on the 28th. It is likely that a 
separate prosecution is awaiting. 

THE STATEMENT 

Mr. Gopalakrishniah gave his statement 
orally in English " in order to expedite the 



GOPALAKRISHNIAH'S TRIAL 83 

business of the Court." But he took care to sign 
it in Telugu. The District Magistrate did not 
permit him to make his statements sitting 
though he pleaded ill-health. His statement was 
in the form of a running commentary on the 
allegations in the preliminary order with 
which dialogues interposed here and there. The 
statement ran as follows : — 

" It is a fact that I spoke at the Andhra 
Conferences on the 24th and 26th of September 
and at the mass meeting at Berhampore on the 
27th. My speeches were ''calculated " to give a 
correct idea of the mental and moral constitution 
of the existing Government. I do not know 
whether they are '' stirring up hatred and 
contempt.'* But 1 certainly " incited " them to 
prepare themselves for civil disobedience even- 
tually. If however you wish to use the word 
■** revolt/' it is revolt in the realm of morality 
and of ideas, but certainly not revolt in the 
military sense of the term and our aim is to 
purify the Britisher in its conduct towards men 
and things. 

Question : — Magistrate : — You made an 
obscene remark about the King-Emperor. 

Answer : Gopal : What is that ? 

Here the Prosecuting Inspector read out 



84 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

a passage from Mr. Gopalakrishniah's speech of 
the 24th which showed that Mr. Gopalakrishniah 
and others had on one occasion corrected a 
drunken lout of Chirala who was crying out r 
— ' Ping George ki Jai * and asked him to 
say " King George ki Jai." 

Mr. Gopal : — I brought up the remark about 
King George to show the type of allies that are 
gone in for by the local officials, in despair. 

Continuing the statement Mr. Gopala- 
krishniah said : — I compared the Government to 
Ravana, Bali and Hiranyakasyapa. I have been 
doing so for the last 6 or 7 months particularly 
because they present the exact analogies to the 
different aspects of the existing Government 
from the Puranas which alone are competent to 
be presented to the masses so as to help their 
understanding instead of stale common places 
or boring philosophic presentations. I have 
elaborated these comparisons in order to show 
up the aesthetic implications of the setting 
which I am glad to say is very exact. 

" That the present Government has ruined the 
country " is true and not false. My assertion that 
" it must and will be destroyed '* holds true. I 
never mentioned any months in the absolute 
sense, though it is our hope to attain Swarajya 



GOPALAKRISHNIAH'S TRIAL 85 

in three months according to Mahatmaji's 
gauging of the situation. 

The Magistrate : You seem to be as exceed- 
ingly a popular preacher. You raise laughter. 

Mr. Gopal ; Laughter prevents people from 
becoming morbid. It lubricates the soul. 

Continuing, he said : — About " threaten to 
those who do not support rebellion," the fact 
that is alleged was only a spiritual demonst- 
rance, a moral admonition that one cannot 
escape judgment before the maker of things on 
judgment day. 

I did say that some " non-Brahmins " are 
traitors. What I meant was that there are some 
amongst us who do not call themselves Kshat- 
riyas. Vysyas or Sudras but go in for an ex- 
ceedingly funny appellation " non-brahmin " 
which by its very nature implies hatred of the 
Brahmins. And when the Government counten- 
anced the birth and growth of these commu- 
nities which is so avowedly anti-Brahmin 
(hatred of Brahmins) I felt that the Govern- 
ment will be sporty enough to rub in our 
statements pretty complacently. The Govern- 
ment has overtly and covertly assisted the 
impudence of this non-Brahmin community and 
thus themselves " stirred up enmity " if any as 



86 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

alleged in the order. As regards " showing 
cause," "I am a non- co-operator and I have 
nothing to say but quietly, meekly and humbly 
submit to whatever punishment the Government 
choose to inflict on me and pray for the better- 
ment of my countrymen as well as of the 
Government." 

It is unfortunate that the charge of having 
made obscene remarks about King George ha& 
come up against me. I am afraid it is due to a 
misinterpretation or misunderstanding of my 
language in its context. It is but right that I 
should express my regret about it. I have 
already explained the circumstances in which I 
used the quotation. It was never my own and 
I am equally indignant that such a remark 
should havei fallen from an ally of Government 
in my village. 

Mr. Gopal continued : — 

" About the mythological statement I shall 
make a general remark to dispel delusion. First 
about Havana, wliile comparing the existing 
Government to Ravana, I prefaced it with a 
correct thesis of Rakshasa's country to the 
current notion, I said Rakshasas are not devils or 
demons but may be human with an emphasis on 
a particular manifestation of egoism. That is. 



GOPALAKRISHNIAH'S TRIAL 87 

why I instanced Havana's snatching away of 
others' women and contrasted it with the existing- 
Government snatching away of others' wealth, 
. I also said that otherwise Ravana was a very 
great man worshipping a thousand " Lingams "" 
every morning. In a similar manner while 
bringing in the analogy of Hiranyakasyapa I 
said the British Government stood to us in the 
relation of a father 

" Magistrate :" And that is why you wish to 
get rid of them in 3 months. 

Gopal. But is because they are just reaching 
the sublimity of egoism. I was not quite sure 
and expressly stated that I did not know whe- 
ther they were the one or the other (Bali or 
Hiranyakasyapa). They were not ripe. We 
were yet in the realm of hypothesis. 

" In the case of Bali he gracefully and 
graciously offered what was asked of him. And I 
said that it was a genuine relation which we all 
hoped for as an ally in an imperial brotherhood. 
Regarding the three months' limit Mahatma 
Gandhi has on many an occasion expressed his 
conviction that we will get Swarajya in three 
months; and being a faithful disciple I have 
nothing to doubt about it. 

Regarding the currency notes I have examin- 



88 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

€d a hypothetical situation which, by the way, 
must be popular and not abstruse ; and this I 
have been doing on many a platform. Further 
it is quite clear from the evidence that not a 
single currency note has been cashed. The 
whole thing was purely academical, 

'' Lt is rather interesting that while two 
thousand persons attended the meeting (of the 
27th), people from the cultured strata of society 
have not come forward to depose to the correct 
understanding appreciation and revaluation of 
my speech. I always present my statement 
with force, with clarity and with mythological 
allusions seasoned with plenty of humour, I 
•do it deliberately in order to prevent the 
masses from getting morbid over the ills of 
Oovernment and to preserve an equipoise in 
their feelings. Differences in outlook and differ- 
•ences in taste and language are perhaps the 
reason why these misinterpretations or mis- 
understandings have occurred. Whatever looks 
indecent is merely a difference in idiom. 
Differences in idiom may result in creating a 
false sense of indecency, but that is all. 

*' About the Prince of Wales I mentioned, not 
12,000 but 1,200 as having died in the Punjab. I 
said we were in mourning — not in Pollution ' 



GOPALAKRISHNIAH'S TRIAL 89 

— and could not extend to him a hearty wel- 
come. 

" Generally speaking my view is in accord- 
ance with the Congress view and particularly 
I follow Mahatma Gandhi's precepts. I have 
nothing more to add." 

MAGISTRATE'S QUESTIONS 

Magistrate: — Do you deny the charge of 
having stirred enmity against Government ? 

Gopal : — I do deny it. Being a sport myself 
I do not create enmity against Government nor 
do I intend it. 

Magistrate : — And about creating disaffec- 
tion ? 

Here followed a discussion as to the exact 
meaning to be attached to the word "disaffec- 
tion." 

At last, Mr. Gopal said : — * Now I shall give 
you a concrete instance." Mahatma Gandhi has 
said that the present Government is 'satanic' I 
am a follower of Mahatmaji and I also believe 
in it. I^ow is that disaffection ? 

Magistrate : — It may be so but you say you 
•do not stir up enmity. 

Gopal :— I do not. 

Magistrate : — That will do. 



90 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

The proceedings closed for the day at this stage 
(5 P.M.). The case was adjourned for judgment 
to 9 A.M. next day (3rd October 1921). Mr, 
Gopal was released on his personal recog- 
nisance so that his friends had an opportunity 
of spending some more time with him. JSfext 
morning at 9-30 the Magistrate summoned Mr» 
Gopal before him and the following conversa- 
tion took place between them. 

Magistrate : — Will you sign the l)ond and 
furnish security ? 

Gopal : — No. As a Congressman I cannot 
do it. 

Magistrate:— I am sorry I would much rather 
prefer your executing the bond. But since you 
refuse I must finish the order, but why don't you 
execute the bond ? 

Gopal : — I cannot do it now. I shall give secu- 
rity to a free Government. 

Magistrate: — What do you mean by a free 
Government ? It is probably anarchy. 

Gopal : — Why, this very Government will 
evolve itself into a free Government. 

Magistrate : — It will if you help those of us 
who are trying our best to evolve it. Why do 
you carry on your political agitation with so 
much rancour ? 



GOPALAKRISHNIAH'S TRIAL 91. 

Gopal: — There is no rancour. It is only 
righteous indignation. It may appear to have 
a veneer of rancour. 

Magistrate : — Why should it ? 

Gopal : — We are in opposite political camps.. 
So, it may look like rancour to the prejudiced 
eyes of our opponents. 

Magistrate : — You were in England for five 
years. You know the political agitation there 
is not carried on with so much rancour, 

Gopal : — No. But the Government there is^ 
more sportly. 

Magistrate : — Did you think so ? 

Gopal: — Yes. Don't you see how Lloyd. 
George has agreed to another conference with 
De Valera accepting his '* sine qua non." 

Magistrate: — But Lord Reading saw Gandhi- 

Gopal : — But not in a similar manner and 
with the same credentials as De Valera- What 
is the term of my imprisonment ? 

Magistrate: — One year's simple imprisonment 
or such earlier term if you furnish security. I 
hear that Raja Venkatakrihna Rao is already 
thinking of furnishing security. (This, by the- 
way, is not correct.^) 

The District Magistrate wished to know if 
any special arrangements were to be made for 



52 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

diet. Mr. Gopal said that he was not well and 
that he would be glad if he was provided with 
milk and wheat diet, and continue his usual 
medicine. The District Magistrate made a note 
of it and agreed to give wide discretion to the 
Jail Superintendent. Mr, Gopal thanked the 
District Magistrate for the courtesy shown by 
the District Magistrate towards himself and his 
friends throughout the proceedings. He also 
observed that such courtesy was not usually 
forthcoming. 

Magistrate: — Is there anything else you 
want? 

Gopal : — I wish to say just a few words to my 
friend Ramakotiswara Rao. 

Magistrate ; — Yes, he may accompany you in 
"the car to the Railway station. 

When he came out I (Mr. Ramakotiswara 
Rao) asked him how he took to charges. He 
said : — One at least is absurd, namely, that of 
having used obscene remarks. If I am asked 
as to why it was mentioned in the meeting at 
all, I would reply that truth however ugly 
it is and however unaesthetic its form must be 
told. Drawing room susceptibilities are out of 
place in a gathering of grim politics, Mahatma 
Gandhiji appears in his " Kaupenam " (loin 



GOPALAKRISHNIAH'S TRIAL 93^ 

cloth), before an audience of 50,000, these peo- 
ple would probably explain that the demonstra- 
tion is highly obscene. This is an usual 
subterfuge of the Government to damn the 
voteries of the movement. I am never under 
the influence of "" moralic acid." I suspect with 
Nietzche that "English puritanism smell-spleen 
and alcoholic excess." Regarding other charges,, 
they are the usual story everywhere and my 
statement is explanatory enough. The one 
new thing is about those mythological allusions. 
My thesis about Rakshasas and their attain- 
ment of moksha through " sathru sadhana," 
if properly placed before the public will 
clearly obviate the charge and incidentally 
present the different aspects of the existing 
Government in a typically Indian manner to a 
typically Indian audience uncorrupted in their 
mentality and unalloyed in their instinct. He 
added : " I do not hate the ' non-Brahmans.' I 
have all love for them but I grieve that some 
of them are opposed to the Swarajya move- 
ment." 

He gave some parting messages to be convey- 
ed to friends and expressed his gratefulness- 
and his sincere respects to Mahatmaji and to 
Desabhakta Venkatappayya. 



94 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

I wish to add a word about the District 
Magistrate Mr. T. G. Rutherford. His behaviour 
througliout the trial was exceedingly gentle- 
manly. He was good humoured and was 
smiling visibly on occasions more especially 
when P. W. 1 was explaining how, according 
to Mr. Gopalakrishniah. Lord Willingdon re- 
sembled Ravana with his ten heads ; The eight 
Ministers were the eight heads ; Lord Willing- 
don's own head was the 9th and on the top of it 
all, Sir P. Tyagaraya Chetty's was the tenth. "At 
the last remark the Magistrate burst out laugh- 
ing. He also mentioned that the Government 
of Madras were likely to make special arrange- 
ments for political prisoners and that Mr. 
'Gopalakrishniah might take his own bed, cot 
and other things. 

The Magistrate's order contained the follow- 
ing passage : — 

" This District has hitherto been spared such 
excess of political madness, and I see no reason 
why if accused has been allowed to pursue his 
'Career of incitement to disaffection unchecked 
elsewhere, he should be allowed to do so here. 
Further even from his manner in Court, it is 
•c'ear thit he has the art of putting an audienco 
in good humour with itself and the speaker, 



GOPALAKRISHNIAH'S TRIAL 95 

and is therefor^ more dangerous as an agitator. 
That he is utterly reckless is shown by his 
disobeying an order under section 144, Criminal 
Procedure Code issued after the delivery of the 
speech now under consideration. 



ADDENDUM 

THE HERO OF CHIRALA-PERALA 
RESURRECTED 

ALLEGED SEDITION 

Second trial under Section 124A, Indian 
Penal Code. 

It was stated in the columns of Kistna 
Patrica of 5th November, 1921 that Mr. Duggi- 
rala Gopalakrishnayya, who was sentenced to 
one year's simple imprisonment under Section 
107 Criminal Procedure Code (security proceed- 
ings) at Berhampore would have to undergo 
another trial at Masulipatam on 10th November 
under Section 124A, Indian Penal Code. The 
Andhra people did not at first believe the paper's 
revelation; but afterwards when the Andhra 
Patrica published that Gopalakrishna was 
brought from Trichinopoly to Madras and thence 
he would proceed to Masulipatam to undergo a 



ALLEGED SEDITION 97 

farcical trial, the Andhras were astir and began to 
wonder at the wicked policy of the Government 
of Madras. Gopalakrishna started on 8th Novem- 
ber at Madras by Waltair passenger and at every 
station on his way to Bezwada, people flocked 
in large numbers to pay their respects to the 
hero. At Bezwada on 9th morning, at 8 o'clock, 
people crowded to have a glimpse of the hero's 
features. Till 11 o'clock, there was a regular 
stream of people coming and going, asking the 
hero of his experiences in the jail, begging him 
to receive fruits they brought with them and 
when he gladly accepted them, quitting the 
place with great joy and happiness. At 
Bezwada I met Gopalakrishna and he handed 
over to me the notice served on him at 
Trichinopoly Central Jail to take a copy of it. 
Here is the notice : — 

"0.0.4 OF 1921, 

NOTIOE FOR THE ACOUSED. 

IN THE OOURT OF THE DISTRICT MAGISTRATE, 

KISTNA 

ToDuggiralaGopalakrishnayya Garu now in 
Central Jail, Trichinopoly. 

Notice is hereby given to you that a case 
against you under Section 124A, Indian Penal 

7 



98 THE CHIRAL4-PERALA TRAGEDY 

Code, filed before this Court stands posted to 
10th November 1921 at 11 A.M. at Masulipatam. 

You can engage a pleader if you desire to do 
so. 

Given under my hand and seal this 27th day 
of October 1921, 

(Sd.) H, H. F. M. TYLER. 

District Magistrate'' 

The train for Masulipatam started punctually 
at 11 o'clock. Gopalakrishna had some breath- 
ing space after the train started, when he told 
us his experiences of the Jail. The features of 
the hero clearly indicate that his health has 
failed him ; and he said *' I never thought such 
a hell (the jail) exists upon this beautiful 
earth." He described the jail as a cremation 
ground wherein one pines after his love, an- 
other abuses the prison authorities, a third falls 
foul with his fellow-prisoner and so on. It 
seems, he said, that seven Sikhs, who were 
sentenced to transportation for life in the last 
Lahore Conspiracy case were on hunger-strike 
at Trichinopoly jail protesting against the 
wretched conditions prevailing there. The jail 
warders, it is a custom with them, to cry " all 
is well " during the nights. Gopalakrishna 



ALLEGED SEDITION 99 

made them to change their cry into *' all is 
hell." The prison authorities, after a great 
deliberation extending over a fortnight, gave 
our hero a pencil and no paper. Gopalakrishna 
wrote with the pencil on the white wall of his 
cell " Economics does not cure a crime"'" 
He also said that people should not be attracted 
by garlands if they go to jails but must be 
prepared to undergo all difficulties, nay even 
be prepared to sacrifice their lives. 

At every intermediate station, a group of 
passengers came, visited the hero, asked about 
his health, presented fruits, and carried his 
message of love and sacrifice. The train steamed 
into the Masulipatam station at 2 o'clock where 
a large crowd of people gathered on the plat- 
form to give a royal welcome to the hero. As 
soon'as he got down from the compartment 
Gopalakrishna was garlanded and he embraced 
Mr. Krishna Rao, Editor, the Kistna Patrica, 
expressing his ecstacies of joy on seeing his old 
^' friend and philosopher." A large number of 
friends came from Guntur, Bezwada, Gudivada, 
and other places to attend the trial the next 
day. Gopalakrishna was taken in procession in 
a jutka followed by a huge crowd of people, 
singing national songs, and was lodged in the 



100 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

sub-jail. All streets were lined with large- 
number of spectators and that was a gala day 
in Masulipatam. The police tried their best to- 
get rid of the procession but their attempts- 
ignominously failed. It was in 1908 that the 
first sedition trial took place at Masulipatam in 
the Andhradesh when two patriots were- 
sentenced to 6 and 9 months simple imprison-^ 
ment and again the town sustained its tradi- 
tions well in the yearl921. 

On 10th NTovember 1921 the trial commenced 
punctually at 11 A.M. before Mr. B. H. F. M. 
Tyler, C I, E. I.CS., the District Magistrate of 
Kistna. The attendance was very restricted ; 
but after some rupture, some of the prominent 
men were allowed into the court. 

When the Public Prosecutor, Mr. Sidimbi 
Hanumantha Rao was addressing the court 
Gopalakrishnayya asked the District Magis- 
trate " Excuse me, Sir, will you please ask him 
(the Public Prosecutor) to speak a little louder?"" 

The District Magistrate accordingly directed 
the Public Prosecutor. 

Gopal : — Am I here! as an accused ? 

Dt. Mg. :— Yes. 

Gopal : — Is this trial a public trial or a ghosha 
affair ? 



ALLEGED SEDITION 101 

Dt. Mg. : — This is a public triaL 

Gopal : — If so, can you consider anyone as a 
public man here? 

Dt. Mg. : — I have no objection if anybody 
proposes to come in. 

Gopal: — How many had you proposed to 
admit ? 

Dt. Mg.: — As many as this hall can accommo- 
<iate. 

Here the Deputy Superintendent interven- 
ed and said that nobody was forthcoming, 
though about a thousand people stood out- 
side the gates waiting anxiously for admit- 
tance. 

Gopal :— Is nobody forthcoming ! 1 I saw my 
friends outside the gate which remains closed 
evidently with the intention ot preventing 
everybody from entering in. For instance 
there is my friend Krishna Rao, awaiting ad- 
mittance outside the gate. 

Dt. Mg.:— I invited Mr. Krishna Rao (thinking 
him to be Mr. M. Krishna Rao). I sent him 
a letter. 

Gopal : — Possibly it might not have reached 
Mr. Krishna Rao. 

Dt. Mg. :— It is not my look-out. 

Gopal :— Oh ! the police must have managed 



102 THE CHIKALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

it otherwise, I am afraid people will put it to 
diplomacy so that there may be a show of the 
District Magistrate having allowed some to 
come in and the police in the interests of *order' 
prevented everybody and thus get credit for 
having managed " decently." I am not anxious 
anybody should come in : as a matter of fact I 
do not recognise this court at all and I do not 
consider myself as undergoing trial as it is 
prohibited by our Congress. If I participate in 
the proceedings, I do it only as presenting my 
position to a fair-minded English gentleman 
who is anxious to know the truth of the whole 
affair, the accusations of the Government and 
my comment thereon. 

The Deputy Superintendent of Police audaci- 
ously again remarked that nobody expresses his 
wish to come in. 

Gopal:— The people outside the gate may 
not know at all. You may just send a word 
to them ; and I hope you will pardon my preci- 
pitating the silence of the *' court." It might 
bore you and everybody here. 

After so much fuss, a small number of people 
were admitted into the court. 

C. Krishnaswami Naidu, Inspector of Police^ 
lodged complaint under section 124 A, Indian 



ALLEGED SEDITION 103 

Penal Code, on behalf of the Government of 
Madras. The subject of the prosecution was a 
speech delivered at Ellore by Gopalakrishna 
on 26th June 1921. The Madras Government 
sanctioned prosecution in September and the 
case was heard on 10th November. 

Gopal : — The case would have been settled by 
punchayets when Swaraj comes and there 
is no need for wasting so much precious time 
here. 

Dt. Mg. : — You have not got swaraj yet. 

Gopal : — We will get it shortly. You may 
postpone the case till then. 

Then S. Ponnurangam Mudaliar, the Deputy 
Superintendent of Police, was called in. He 
said that he belongs to Vellala community and 
attested the signature of Marjoribanks, the 
official who sanctioned the prosecution on 
behalf of the Government of Madras. 

Gopal: — Then Brahmin (Vs.) non-Brahmin. 
I am glad you did not declare yourself as a non- 
Brahmin for Brahmins are dead in my country. 
• Dt. Mg. : — Will you cross-examine the wit- 
ness? 

Gopal : — I do not. I know Englishman will 
never forge and their tradition is a long time 
back to visit forgery by hanging. 



104 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

K. Srinivasa Rao, a short-hand sub-Inspector, 
was called in. He said : — 

"I have been deputed to take speeches at 
Ellore by my official superiors. I took short- 
hand notes of Mr. G opalakrishnayya's speech at 
Ellore. The meeting was on 26th June 1921, 
These are the shorthand notes of the speech 
(pointing to the notes). I have taken the speech 
correctly. I obtained the signature of the 
superior officer immediately after the meeting 
was over. I have obtained the signature of the 
Assistant Superintendent of Police Mr. K. I 
have transcribed the speech into longhand. 
Exhibit B is the correct transcription of the 
speech. Exhibit B is in my own handwriting 
and signed by me. T have also taken the 
speeches of other speakers. They are also in 
shorthand and longhand. The transcription of 
the accused's speech begins from pages 22 to 39 
and 44, 47, and 48 pages also. 

Gopal : — I wish to have a copy of the 
speeches. 

p. P. : — I have no objection. 

Dt. Mg. : — Will you cross-examine the wit- 
ness? 

Gopal : — No. I am not much concerned with 
the reliability or unreliability of these chaps. I 



ALLEGED SEDITION 105 

do not want to be cross with them at all. I 
am glad that the Government obtained such a 
hand of fellows who do the shorthand writing 
in our language smartly so that they might 
be producing something like your Hansard 
(the Parliamentary Reports), I am not particu- 
lar about that. Please see that you expediate 
the proceedings so that time might not be 
wasted and you bring in as many of our men 
as you can and help us in winning Swaraj 
immediately. 

Then the shorthand reporter read the whole 
speech. 

Gopal : — I want to draw your (District Magis- 
trate's) attention that my whole speech is woe- 
fully disconnected and he(the shorthand reporter) 
misunderstood some of the statements. He pre- 
sented the speech in a shabby manner and there 
are many omissions and in many parts irrelevant. 
Of course he has taken notes from my speech. 
He omitted many thesis. I said something about 
Panchamas and the theory of criminology. 
Perhaps the whole of my speech would have 
taken more than 200 pages (laughter in the 
court). 

Here the accused asked the District Magistrate 
to put in one statement after another so as to 



108 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

but not outside. Please note reliability of 
shorthand notes is not my concern. 

P. P. : — There are other speeches of the 
accused which do not come under this section 
!but throw light on the subject of his thought. 

Gopal : — Delivered at what place ? 

P. P. : — Some at Bezwada. 

Gopal : — Then take them into 124A section. 

Dt. Mg. : — If they are relevant 

Gopal : — Why ! Judging from their physiog- 
namy the Bezwada speeches come along with 
Ellore ones and they betray a kinship. I 
request you to take in the Bezwada speeches. 
Technically speaking we are at war and my 
thesis there was war and violence can afford to 
be two different things. I was demonstrating 
as to how to obtain war without violence for 
instance Sdpam and our Rishisare Sdpdyudhulu 
which is not a metaphor. I have developed the 
Congress creed, of course, not conflicting with it 
but supplementing it. Those speeches must be 
taken into this section for in them I advocated 
a sort of war — Dandopdyam. 
(Here the bayonet of the Reserved Policeman 
fell down and the accused remarked it was a bad 
omen as it forbades the Government made drop 
down violence.) 



ALLEGED SEDITION 109' 

Dt. Mg. (to P.P.)-— "^ cannot allow the 
Bezwada speeches to be filed here. How do 
you say that the accused's Ellore speech offends 
124 A? 

p. P. (got up and began to take the objec- 
tionable portions, one by one, and commented 
on them.) 

" When white faces that have come from a 
distance of 8,000 miles rule, we sit with white 
(palej faces." This sentence creates disaffection. 
" Thieving is going on in my country." This- 
sentence implies accusation against the Govern- 
ment and tends to produce hatred in the minds 
of the hearers. These sentences — " They have 
instilled fear and devotion (in us). They have 
first instilled poison into our heads " — also help 
to create contempt towards the Government. 

Gopal : — These sentences have been taken 
away from their context and the Public Prose- 
cutor attributes wrong meaning to them. This 
is a typical case of omission, 

Dt. Mg, : — After the speech of the Public 
Prosecutor you can have your say. 

Gopal ; — I do not want to waste your time. . 
You will help us to win Swaraj if you send as 
many of my countrymen as you can to jails 
within this month. 



110 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

P. P. : — (continuing). *^ You have been here 
without shame or whatsoever when people who 
came from 8000 miles rule over you/' This 
sentence also indicates disaffection. " If need 
be, we must have the power to throw, at once, 
one hundred white men into the Swarga. If 
not we are unfit for swaraj." This sentence 
clearly evokes hatred against the Govern- 
ment. 

Gopal : — That is a typical case of omission. 
My view was that people have become so 
emaciated, lean and lanky and look so lancorous 
with some deep-seated agony e.g-f look at myself. 
We, people, must be like you (pointing to the 
District Magistrate), robust, strong, and well- 
built. We must be a match to the Englishmen 
in point of wealth and strength. 

P. P. : — " Our difficulties are severe : We are 
not able to, live." This means that the Govern- 
ment does not allow us to live. And this 
'Certainly creates disaffection towards the Gov- 
ernment. 

Gopal : — I propose you should go to the 
national college and study idioms for sometime. 
I said " we do not deserve to live." But your 
i:ranslation of the Telugu idiom is meaningless. 

p. P. : — Gandhi is Rudramurty (the God of 



ALLEGED SEDITION 111 

Destruction). If we take the context it indi- 
cates hatred and contempt. 

Gopal : — That is a typical case of incorrect 
understanding. The Police are not philosophers. 
Hence this defect. I have developed a great 
thesis on it. I will explain it to you. Economics 
deal with wealth. Wealth consists of utilities ; 
and utilities are " appropriated." Appropriation 
is consumption. The commodity, material or 
immaterial, must cease to exist that is to say 
when we impart value to things we decree their 
death: and such death is Pralaya whose 
Adhisthana Devata is Hudra. !,_ 

P. P. : — " The Government is arrogant^ 
This generates contempt. 

Gopal : — People are not much acquainted 
with Telugu idioms nowadays. Therefore in the 
•open meeting I translated it at once as Prestige 
so that one might understand our clean 
methods. 

p. p. ;—" We %q\ Swaraj in a month." This 
means that the British Government will be 
•destroyed : and this produces hatred. " Earth 
withholds milk. " Before this sentence a story 
was told by the accused. Once a king went to 
see a sugar-cane plantation when he witnessed 
that a large quantity of juice was being 



112 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

extracted from sugar-canes. He became 
jealous of the owners' profits and from that 
time, sugar- canes on that plantation became 
juiceless. Another story also is told by the 
accused. "The other day, on our return from 
Nagpur, Pantulu Garu and I halted at Doulata- 
bad. There are great temples there. The 
artistic skill of them is excellent. At such a 
place we found that there was no water to 
drink. How many must have been at work in 
constructing such big temples? How many 
years must they have worked? In such a 
place drinking water has to be bought at so- 
many Manikas a rupee. Has (the cow of) 
the Earth withheld her milk (sap) • or not ? 
Thinking that it is a great sin, even the earth 
has withheld her milk." When we consider 
these two stories one is left with the impression, 
that because the Government is going in a 
wrong path, therefore there was no water in 
that place. " For they say that the efficacy of 
the arrow of Sri Ramachandra was known to- 
the sea. We should not say it was known tO' 
Ravana (a sloka was read by the accused here 
in the meeting): for Ravanesura was a 
wicked being : what great effort is re~ 
quired to kill him? It does not matter if 



ALLEGED SEDITION 113' 

the British Government exists, ceases to exist 
or meets with destruction." The accused 
compared the Government with Havana and 
Hiranyakasyapa and this certainly produces 
hatred in the minds of the hearers. 

Gopal: — I am sorry to note you have not 
clearly grasped the meaning and purport of 
those sentences. The sea is infinite and one of 
the visible kinsmen of God. The measure of 
Rama's prowess is to be judged not by his 
killing Ravana but by trying conclusions over 
the Infinite. You punish the criminal and your 
capacity cannot be judged by that but by your 
power over the Infinite. Yes. It does not 
matter if the British Government exists or not.. 
That is to say we should kill Ravana in the 
British Government. There may be Rama in 
British Government too. As for comparing tha 
Government to Ravana and other Rakshasas, T 
can have the necessary objectivity of mind and 
vision being emphasized for instance Ravana 
has Paraddrdpaharanam while this Govern- 
ment has Paravitthdpaharanam, Hiranya- 
kasyapa was punished not by his son Prahlada, 
but by God Himself. We must play the part of 
Prahlada because the Government are supposed 
to be "father" of the people. If the Govern - 
8 



114 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

ment choose the path of Hiranyakasyapa, God 
appears in Nrisimhavatara : but if they 
choose the path of Bali he is Vamana as he is 
now. In the latter case we will be allies and 
be happy. But in the former Nrisimha is 
violence and who knows that Prahlada may 
not be violent as in Nrisimha's Manifestation. 
He filled Himself in all Creation ; and therefore 
cannot escape possessing Prahlada too the very 
incarnation of Humility. 

Public Prosecutor afterwards again took 
portions of his speech one by one and began to 
point out how they tend to create hatred and 
contempt and disaffection. 

Dt. Mg. (to the accused) : — Do you want to 
say anything ? 

Gopal : — First of all I want to make my 
position clear. I certainty accept an English 
judge because I wish to enlighten you for the 
civilians have to help us in our Civil Disobedi- 
ence programme. I ask you to resign and help 
us to attain Swaraj. The prosecution is very 
bad. I could prosecute myself more ably than 
the Public Prosecutor has done, for I am a drama- 
tist. The basis of prosecution is one of misunder- 
standing and ignorance. Take for instance the 
currency notes question, I examined a hypothe- 



ALLEGED SEDITION 115 

tical statement. When Mahatma Gandhi said 
^he would establish Swaraj in one month, I want 
the people to clearly grasp the full significance 
of the statement. I pointed out to them the 
uselessness of the currency paper for it is a 
popular question which I had to deal with. 
Hatred and contempt are abominable. We 
!have contempt not towards the English nation, 
nor the English people, but to some who richly 
deserve it. I am sick of this refrain. The 
most important thing to the Government is 
money. Money is the soul, the life of all 
Oovernments. Now the British Government 
presented us money in notes. I was criticising 
the attitude of the Government's economics. 
War chests may be filled up with money and 
inconvertible notes may be used. That econo- 
mics is very bad. The shorthand reporter did 
not understand it well. If you invest those 
notes with us we will honour them otherwise 
we won't. As for Rakshasa he is a man in 
whom a particular type of egoism is empha- 
sized and I know that Rakshasas belong to 
the Brahmin class (laughter in the court). 
Brahmins are dead in my country. You (Dt. 
Mg.) are in a way a brahmin for Brahmins 
-are always rulers. I use popular illustra- 



116 THE CHIRALA.-PERALA TRAGEDY 

tions for they are well understood by the? 
masses. 

Dt. Mg» : — Do you believe that the transcribed 
speech of the prosecution is not fair ? 

(Here the accused pointed out certain word& 
which indicate that they do not bear the 
interpretation put upon them by the prosecution)- 

Gopal : — There are four points. Very im^ 
portant omissions. This would result in an 
incorrect understanding of those sentiments 
which are bundled up so that the whole looks- 
like an incoherent and intangible mass- 

Dt. Mg.:— I like to say this. If you think that 
there is any incorrect thing the proper course is- 
to cross-examine witnesses. You will be free 
to recall each of them to cross-examine after 
the charges are framed. 

Gopal; — I do not want to cross-examine nor 
am I going to put in defence. I want you to^ 
clearly understand things as they are. If yoU' 
permit, I will put in my preliminary statement 
in which I will explain the omissions and com- 
missions of the prosecution. Please see that 
you allow my friends Mr. M. Krishna Kao, my 
philosopher, and Mr. G. V. Krishna Rao, my 
scribe, to be with me to prepare the statement 
and give it to you to-morrow. 



ALLEGED SEDITION 117 

Dt. Mg. : — Yes. I permit your friends to help 
you. I adjourn the case till to-morrow at 2 P.M. 

Second day (11th November), 

The accused has been handed a copy of the 
paragraphs of his speech complained against by 
the prosecution and was asked to give his 
preliminary statement thereon. The para- 
graphs were typed and numbered. The accused 
stated that he would take them up one by 
one and would comment thereon. Before that 
he proposed to read the preliminary statement 
lie was asked to prepare the other day. The 
District Magistrate allowed and the accused 
read the following preliminary statement 
which made a profound impression on the 
* court ' especially the latter portion of it when 
he referred to the Chirala-Perala tragedy. 

Preliminary statement. 

" The speech as reported is an insult to justice, 
as the Court cannot correctly appreciate and 
appraise my intention, my mentality, and action 
with such an incoherent and intangible bundle 
of mutilated sentences. I sympathise with the 
shorthand reporter. I know he has done his 



118 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

job splendidly well at Berhampore. Possibljr 
the poor fellow was exhausted at the moment 
owing to a storm of emotion upsetting him at 
the movement as, after all, he is my kith and 
kin and his lancorous look, I prophesy, betrays 
an early resignation of his bad job, which 
compels him to damn himself in this manner 
before his own countrymen. The chief features- 
of the report are : — 

1. Omission of the nucleus ; 2. Murder of 
sequence ; 3. Mutilation of illustration ; 4o. 
Wrong reproduction of sound ; 5. A false 
knowledge of allusion, during the mention of 
which possibly negligence of not taking it down 
at the time in full owing to a self-confidence. 

And all these, who knows, may be due to a 
tip from above to cook it up to suit the fancy 
of the prosecution and what is more a serious- 
lack of knowledge on the part of the Public 
Prosecutor regarding the idiom both in Telugu 
and English languages. 

I am sorry to say that my amiable adversary,, 
the Public Prosecutor does not get even a pass 
mark in this, his examination in the subject of 
literatures. Perhaps he studied well but is 
nervous in the hall for having to send a fellow- 
being of his own to jail for opinions which, I 



ALLEGED SEDITION 119^ 

detect, he himself in his heart of hearts 
cherishes and beHeves. 

A misapprehension of the significance of my 
statement owing perhaps to want of good 
discipline in logic for hypothetical situations 
which I presented and examined in my speech 
as for example the question of currency notes is 
confounded to be the presentations of the 
actuals. 

General lack of wider outlook and a pene- 
trating vision on the part of the prosecution 
and the most important of all, the lack of 
aesthetic sensitivity to see in full length the 
suggestions and implications. But all these 
omissions and commissions are due to all the 
instruments of this trial being tools in the bure- 
aucratic machine which is still " too wooden, 
too iron, too antedeluvian" to be eligible to rule 
or to be just. 

I meant no hatred and contempt, nor my 
movement does, nor my audience felt, but 
these obtain in the morbid imagination of a 
mad and angry Government. My refrain is love 
and sacrifice. I wish well with the police and 
the prosecution and pray for the dawn of sense 
and sanity all round. 

At this moment alas ! even humility wants 



120 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

to be immodest and impels me to say that the 
Government has to thank me for having been 
so considerate, so compassionate, so human and 
so homely in my references always to them and 
their law even in the face of such an extra- 
ordinary provocation I had from them as that 
with regard to Chirala and Perala tragedy. If 
Mahatmaji is responsible for the weal of three 
hundred millions of my countrymen I, as a 
humble follower of the Rishi, am at least res- 
ponsible for the w^elfare of 15,000 souls for whom 
the sense of d — d prestige of this Government 
has created a miserable hell for the last 7 or 8 
months and who knows how long. If you are 
an Irishman — I do not know who you are — Sir, 
you will know what Chirala means for me. It 
has been a continuous moral and mental exer- 
cise for a long twelve months, a wonderful dis- 
cipline in social psychology and action and if I 
liad borne or bear or am capable of bearing 
hatred and contempt towards you, you should 
have raised by now in that place a wild crop of 
dyers,an edition-de-luxe of the Punjab wrong." 
Then the accused began to read the para- 
graphs handed over to him and commenced com- 
ment upon them. Here are the paragraphs 
objected to by the Prosecution : — 



ALLEGED SEDITION 121 

I 

" Our country, a country with a population of 
33 crores, a country that has been held in great 
honour by its superiority to all other countries 
in point of wealth and knowledge — such a great 
country white faces that have come from a 
distance of 8,000 miles rule and we sit with 
white (pale) faces- Gradually we have been 
reduced to this position. They are not of our 
caste or clan. They are not of our form nor 
of our country. Why should we do service to 
them cheerfully ? Why have they come ? Why 
should people go from one country to another ? 
Firstly we go for want of food ; we also go for 
thieving ; or we go for the purpose of trade* 
Trade comes under one of the first two heads 
(above stated). Failing, thieving or trading, 
there is begging. Why have our people come ? 
They have come for all the three. Begging has 
become the chief thing. Thieving is going on 
in our country. Making all of us unfortunate 
(destitute) (interruption by some one saying that 
the shorthand reporter is writing : — Lecturer 
replying " what fear still ?") They have gradu- 
ally come and have occupied the whole of 
our dominion (country). They thought that 
they would for ever remain here. They have 



122 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

instilled fear and devotion (in us)- For instil- 
ling fear they have disarmed (us). They have- 
first instilled poison into our heads. 

II 

When, on return, I got down at the 
Alexandra Docks in Bombay and first beheld 
the people here, my impression was, as when I 
behold your oxen after having seen the oxea of 
Palnatseema (the region of Palnad, a taluk 
in the Guntur District, where a good breed of 
oxen is available). Why are they so? They have 
freedom. They have been committing some 
blunders. Can they come to the right without 
committing blunders ? When I beheld them at 
Bombay I thought "There are 320 millions of" 
us. Some Dyer must cut down 319 millions. 
The one million that remain may be regenerat- 
ed." I thought " you are devoid of shame to 
remain in this condition when those that have 
come from a distance of 8,000 miles are ruling 
over you. Wherever we see there is fear, fear 
for everything. Why should they have fear, 
even now, at the mere mention of the name of 
the Collector ? Perhaps they think that they 
live for ever. No ; not at all. They say that 
even a King must have death. It is certain.- 



ALLEGED SEDITION 125 

that we die. It is not good to be treacherous 
We must have our eyes wide open (unintelligi- 
ble). If need be, we must have the power to 
throw, at once, one hundred white men 
into the Swarga. If not, we are unfit for 
Swaraj. 

Ill 

Our difficulties are severe. We are not able 
to live. When Mr. Gandhi, the Rudramurty (the 
form of Siva) was in this country, some said 
that they would sacrifice their blood for 
the movement. They said that they would 
organise Raj in a month. What does a month 
mean ? 

IV 

But when the rulers are treading the path of 
Adharma only, and the ruled are treading 
the path of Adharma and are sinful, will not 
the (cow of the) earth withhold her milk ? 

V 

The other day, on our return from Nagpur, 
Pantulu Garu and I halted at Doulatabad. 
There are both Kailas (Siva's Abode) and: 



324 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

Vaikuntha (Vishnu's Abode) there. There are 
great temples there. The artistic skill of thern 
is excellent. At such a place we found that 
there was no water to drink. How many must 
have been at work in constructing such big 
temples? How many years must they have 
worked ? In such a place drinking water 
has to be bought at so many Manikas a rupee. 
Has (the cow of) the earth withheld her milk 
(sap) or not ? Thinking that it is a great sin, 
even the earth has withheld her milk. 

VI 

He said that he would accomplish it by the 
arrow of mere word. We know the efficacy 
of the word. There is no need of our consider- 
ing the matter of the British Government. For 
they say that the efficacy of the arrow of Sri 
Ramachandra was known to the sea. They said 
that we should not say that it was known to 
Ravana (sloka) ; for Ravanesura was a wicked 
being ; what great (effort) is required to kill him? 
It does not matter, if the British Government 
exists, ceases to exist,or meets with destruction. 
The determination of the Mahatma (is): What- 
ever may happen we shall establish that Saras - 
watamma (goddess of learning) with her locks, 



ALLEGED SEDITION 125 

divided and ordered, lengthwise and crosswise 
(with prakka-papata and Adda-papata). 
Even as Ramadandu (Rama's army) render- 
ed help for the recovery of Sita (Rama's 
wife) when she had been carried away, we 
must do. War may come. It will all depend- 
upon the English. If they adopt Hiranya- 
kasipu's ways the Mahatma will assume the 
incarnation of ' Nrisimha ' (sloka from 
Prahlada). He has asked us to meditate upon 
Srimannarayana always. If this incarnation 
of ' Nrisimha ' comes, these English will be 
the cause of it. 



VII 

We are representing to all who possess 
money. They carried away all the gold and 
silver which was with us and introduced 
papers. It is not enough that it merely bears 
the stamp of His Majesty George V. Declaring 
Moratorium, they withheld payment of money. 
What will become of all your papers, if Swaraj 
is established in our country under Mr. Gandhi? 
They will say to them who are now shampoo-- 
ing the legs of the Government, "Go* you and: 
shampoo legs." 



126 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

VIII 

So say out chiefly in this meeting, *< we 
shall, without paying as much heed to this 
British Government as to a hair, let them know 
their bad practices and intend to destroy their 
wickedness." 

IX 

Venkatappayya Pantulu, who is solely a 
Desabhakta (a devotee to the country), is the 
Guru (Preceptor) to us all. What has he said 
He has said " The time of destruction has come 
and some decision must be arrived at." 

Gopal :— I will take para by para and com- 
ment on them. The first para suffers, in fact 
all do, from all the infirmities mentioned in my 
preliminary statement. All the sentences men- 
tioned in the first para must certainly have 
occurred somewhere in the course of my speech. 
But they have been unrecognisably scattered. 
For instance, take the sentences " Why have 
our people come ? They have come for all the 
three. Begging has become the chief thing. 
Thieving is going on in our counlry." You 
certainly, credit me with some sense of sequ- 
ence. Don't you ? 

Dt. Mg. : — Of course. 



ALLEGED SEDITION 127 

Gopal : — Well, thank you, then what do you 
"think of these ? Is there not murder of sequ- 
-ence ? Now take the last sentence " They have 
first instilled poison." This should be as " They 
have next instilled poison in the shape of bad 
education to secure devotion." This poison 
brought about paralysis of the mind and engen- 
dered slave mentality. If the attention of the 
audience is drawn to this, it is not to instill 
hatred but to induce self-pity as every govern- 
ment does, it may be. 

p. P. : We are not concerned with your inten- 
tions. It may be and perhaps is good. But the 
words as they are may create hatred. 

Gopal. Yes. They may create hatred only 
in a prejudiced, morbid, self-seeking, moderate, 
non-Brahmin and government party audience 
whose delicate mental constitution is most easily 
disturbed by even a look at it- Certainly not the 
most unsophisticated audience I had. 

In the second paragraph those sentences 
might have occurred somewhere in my speech. 
This para also suffers from the same ailments. 
My idea was my eye, being trained to see the 
finest breed of men and women in Europe 
during my long stay of five years over there, 
found my people, in its first impression of 



128 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

them, awfully Lilliputian, dwarfish, stunted. Na 
wonder, I felt, every European on landing, 
instinctively despises us as a race, as they are^ 
guided mostly in their opinions by their first 
physical impressions. This war of reconstruction 
of social polity must be, I mean, a sort of 
national purgative in which even 319 millions 
of Lilliputs may sacrifice themselves leaving 
behind just a million who can stand the trial to 
provide seed for the new generation. When I 
referred to shame I alluded to the astonishment 
everybody will have at the lack even of a sense 
of subjection in us. One of your greatest 
professors Sir John Seeley himself whose work,. 
I fancy, is prescribed to you (I,C,S. men). Sir, 
said that the moment national consciousness 
merely sprouts in the Indian mind we must 
think that is the beginning of the end. Now 
let me take up the third para. Rudra is the 
Presiding Deity (Adhisthanadevata) of 
Economics, the third in the Hindu Trinity. 
Economics deal with wealth. Wealth invests 
all things with utilities and render them capa- 
ble of being appropriated and consumed. Even 
mental capital is included. Consumption decrees 
death to all things, a change of name and form. 
When mankind find themselves in economic 



ALLEGED SEDITION 129^ 

mood as we are now it is destruction of all 
things that is ordained. It is lay a- Layakarta 
is Rudra. That is why we find the world in the 
vortex of a big conflagration now. And the 
leaders of mankind now are all Rudras not of 
good but of evil. Such is the case with De^ 
Valera, Lenin, Gandhi, and Zaghul Pasha. 
This thesis can be understood only by a typical 
Indian audience unlettered though they may be^ 
in your opinion but perfectly capable of compre- 
hending by virtue of the equipment of their 
mental and moral constitution. 

The idea in the fourth para is that even the 
elements were discontented. They become so 
owing to an attitude of our mind. For example,, 
you, Europeans, are out for the conquest of 
nature. You bear a belligerent attitude while 
we call this earth, Bhudevi (Mother). Take the 
case of Kistna Anicat. You spent so many 
millions of money. You cut her throat and got 
her blood for irrigation and proclaimed you 
have conquered her. But she conquers you now. 
She is getting silted up and very soon the 
course of the river itself may change needing 
another waste of a large number of millions of 
money. I was pleading for the restoration of our 
fundamental traditional attitude towards nature. 
9 



130 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

This (mentioned in the fifth para) was at 
Boulatabad in Nizam's territory, the ElioraCave 
temples. It might apply to the Nizam's Govern- 
ment perhaps the Prosecution does not know 
it. Bad Geography again : though, of course, 
Nizam's territory is a subordinate clause to the 
British Government. 

As for the sixth para, words are the ayudhas 
{weapons) for our Rishis. They are called 
Sapayudhas. Sapa is not a curse. It does 
not bring on evil but is calculated to do good to 
■one on whom it is bestowed. Words uttered 
by a Rishi like Gandhi are concentrated moral 
and spiritual dynamite. The words ' Equality, 
Liberty or Fraternity ' were responsible for the 
•doom of many an Empire in Europe which is still 
groaning under their effect. Who knows Swaraj 
is not one such another to destroy another 
Empire of egoism ? 

The measure of prowess of Ramachandra is to 
be judged not by punishing Ravana, a master 
egoist who is easily vulnerable to ordinary 
virtue but his power over the Infinite as the 
sea, of all visible things in the world, is Infinite, 
the nearest kinsman of god. I compared this to 
the prowess of the British Empire that it should 
be judged not by its thorough enslavement of 



ALLEGED SEDITION 131 

-300 millions and perhaps all the world by its 
diplomacy and silver bullet, but in the words 
of Macaulay, by its establishment of an Empire 
of morality over the world. 

Ramadandu is suggested by your Scout 
Movement They scouted out Sita's where- 
abouts. Unalloyed devotion, unfailing love 
-towards all beings, constant readiness to spring 
to action at the call of Dharma, Love and 
Sacrifice are its primary features. It is a more 
-comprehensive one and it is a correct Indian 
reply to the Western form of Boy Scout Move- 
ment. 

The allusion to Hiranya Kasyapa is intended 
to strongly repudiate all our responsibility for 
any violence that might occur. Hiranyakas- 
yapa, while praying to Brahma, obtained 
insurance and immunity against all conceivable 
poses and weapons of Vishnu but did not 
contemplate one particular contingency that of 
Man-Lion which Vishnu in relief adopted to 
deal with him. So Hiranyakasyapa himself is 
responsible to the hideous, terrible, Man-Lion 
-«hape which fell on him- If Prahlada is given 
the option of determining Vishnu's shape in his 
manifestation for destroying his father he would 
.have perhaps prescribed an amiable, non- 



132 THE CHIRALA.-PERALA TRAGEDY 

violent, sweet-mannered morning suit- But he 
had no say in the matter. Even so we, like 
Prablada, are not responsible for the appearance 
of violence If it were to come. If it comes, we 
like Prahlada, may not escape (Heaven forbid !) 
its infection as the Lord in his Manifestation 
filled all the JJmverse (Sthavar a jangdma).. 
And Prahlada also at the moment did not 
escape being filled thus. But if the egoism of 
the Government takes the form of Bali as I 
fancy it is so now and helps in the realisation 
of all our wishes, the Avatar would be Vamana 
as it is now in the shape of Gandhi, the puny 
form. The prosecutor suggested that even in 
this case the third foot of Vamana is placed on 
the head of Bali and destroyed him. I am quite 
sorry for his knowledge of the mythology. It 
simply sent him to Pdthdla, the Antipodes and. 
made him the monarch of everything there. 
Surely in this spherical globe your country 
represents the Antipodes of ours. The idea is 
we are asking you three feet measure of boon 
like Vamana. The first is righting the Punjab- 
wrong, the second is Khilafat and the third is 
Swaraj\ which sends you to confine your rule 
to your own country and be our allies to* 
exchange hoasts of friendship on our San- 



ALLEGED SEDITION 133 

.krdnii day when Bali is worshipped in my 
country* 

Dt. Mg. : — You mean, in short, you are not 
responsible for any violence. 

Gopal : — Quite so : We and our movement. 

The matter of the seventh para I have already 
-explained. I am complaining against bad 
economics of this bad system of government. 
'* Shampooing legs " is an idiom in our language 
and its grotesqueness is due to obscene transla- 
tion. Strictly speaking it means sycophancy, 
fawning. 

In the eighth para also there is bad idiom in 
translation. * Hair ' must be replaced by the 
word ' straw.' 

In the last para bad idiom again. Not ' sole- 
ly ' but ' genuine ' Desabhakta. Utterances in 
inspired moments are prophetical. He said 
^ Vindsakdlam' (*the time of destruction') 
It means transformation into a better one. It is 
not destruction for nothing is destroyed *when a 
Kiandle is burnt-' 

I have nothing to say further except to ask 
you to send to jail as many of my countrymen 
as you can and thus accelerate the establish- 
ment of Swaraj in my country. 

Afterwards the District Magistrate framed 



134 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

the charge that his speech comes under 124 A - 
Indian Penal Code, and should be tried in this 
court (by himself). 

Gopal : — Did my speech create disaffection 
in you ? 

Dt. Mg. : — No. But it might have created dis- 
affection in your unlettered audience. Do you; 
plead guilty? 

Gopal : — Morally I have not been guilty of 
any offence towards anybody in this connec- 
tion. I do not put in any defence. We are 
enjoined by our Congress creed not to recognise 
this as a Court of Law. 

Dt. Mg. : — Do you wish to cross-examine any 
of the prosecution witnesses ? 

Gopal : — No. I do not want to be cross with 
them at all. 

P. p. :— Not cross but do you cross -exa-^ 

mine ? 

Gopal : — When you are only cross you want 
to cross-examine, 

P. P. (addressing Dt. Mg.) :— The accused's 
main contention is that there was omission of 
some parts of his speech but he did not definite- 
ly state them. Therefore that ground is per- 
fectly useless. He is not positive in his com- 
ments to-day and hence it is equally of no use-^ 



ALLEGED SEDITION 135 

It is not a question of drawing up one's imagi- 
nation but the primary question is what does it 
convey to an ordinary mind ? His intention 
may be different but natural effects went the 
other way. The very fact that he said that the 
Government poisons us will certainly create 
hatred. Human nature being what it is, I do 
not think his audience is full of philosophers to 
appreciate the philosophical notes of his speech. 
He has done a positive disservice to the Govern-^ 
ment. Sending a man to Swarga means literal- 
ly to kill him. He incited the people to kill 
Englishmen in those words. He said even 
elements boycott those who live under the 
Adharma rule of a king, thus creating the 
impression in the mind of the simple folk that 
the rule of the British Government is unjust. 
The accused says that Daulatabad is in the 
Nizam's territory and if it at all offends, it 
should offend the Nizam's Government. But I 
submit that people do not know geography and 
where the place is. They think it is in the^ 
British dominions and this helps to create 
hatred and disaffection. 

Therefore on these grounds I submit the 
accused has offended the Law and should be^ 
dealt with according to the Law. 



136 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

Dt. Mg. : — (to the accused) — Do you wish to 
«ay anything? 

Gopal : — If you permit, I will put in my final 
statement to-morrow in which I will expound 
to you the philosophy, and the principles 
of our movement in support of my speech. 

Dt. Mg. : — Yes. 1 permit you to file your 
■statement. I adjourn the case till to-morrow 
at 2 P.M. 

Third Day (.l2th November). 

D.M. : — Will you read your final statement ? 

Gopal : — Yes (and he began to read the fol- 
lowing final statement). 

FINAL STATEMENT 

This is the first State Prosecution in my 
Andhradesa and I congratulate myself as being 
the first friend of 124-A. Indian Penal Code. 
This is my final statement . This is primarily 
addressed to you as an English gentleman and 
through you to all my countrymen. I am 
rsorry I cannot, technically speaking, recognise 
this as a Court of Law. Nevertheless, British 
gentlemen have, humanly speaking, a right 
to be acquainted with the actual situation of 
my country and I am convinced that most of 
them, honest and conscientious among them I 



ALLEGED SEDITION 137 

miean, are sincerely anxious to throw in their lot 
with the struggles for freedom wherever they 
obtain. Therefore I consider myself as having 
B> delightful talk with a kindly British gentle 
man in his own parlour. 



INDIAN NATIONALISM 

India's emancipation is of a far more profound 
consequence to the welfare of the world than 
perhaps of other countries, except I seriously 
apprehend Ireland with its Celtic blood and 
culture, as our political idealism is far more 
comprehensive than that professed elsewhere. 
The fundamental conceptions of our political 
philosophy and practice, if they are to be steered 
clear through the storm of unpatented ideas 
that is raging about the Indian mentality at 
the present moment, guided by correct dynamic 
appreciation of our tradition, of our historical 
consciousness, "Sanchita Karma," the abiding 
moral pose of our fundamental " Swabhava," 
need at the present juncture of our national 
destiny a clear and perhaps a very brief and 
almost aphoristic enunciation so that our 
present rulers, our intellectual Eurasians and 
dn fact the whole world which is groaning for 



138 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

freedom can understand and bear witness before 
the Maker of All Things to the righteousness of 
our cause and also probably to our competence to 
lead political thought and action in the world. 

It is our peculiar fate and fortune that the 
new system of moral and mental philoso- 
phy that is to guide the world in the " Nava 
Yuga." (The new age) — the Post- Industri- 
al Age — is to arise out of the present momen- 
tous conflict in our country ; as this conflict,, 
it is important to emphasise, is not to be 
understood as aiming at merely wresting 
power from the hands of the British, but as one 
where in all conceivable ideas of principle and 
conduct are fighting for supremacy in the 
governance of the Universe. We must recognise 
that India now represents a " Triveni Sanga- 
mam," — a confluence of the three mighty 
streams that have so far nourished the life on 
this planet/ namely Hinduism (which includes 
of course Buddhism), Mohamadanism and; 
Christianity— in the sacred waters of which the 
future humanity must bathe itself off all their 
past sins and emerge out with the new robes of 
righteousness, love and sacrifice into the 
*'Krithayuga " that awaits them with Immort- 
al Bliss. 



ALLEGED SEDITION 139' 

The European struggle and all the horrid 
agony and divine discontent prevailing in the 
world of to-day is but the frontier of the 
conflict, or rather to be more correct, the union 
of cultures that is going on in my country. The 
range of Indian consciousness is not merely 
national in the European sense of the term, not 
merely human either, but comprehends the 
entire universe which includes not only human- 
ity, but animality, vegetality and minerality ;. 
and according to our tradition 13 other worlds 
yet unconceived by the modern intellect. If we 
adopt the European national spirit at the pre- 
sent moment in our moral action, it is only to 
be understood as the intensive — and not the 
extensive — method of enabling the fruits of our 
action to benefit the entire universe- The new 
phenomenon that has now arisen in European 
moral practice, namely, the League of Nations 
(It must be stated here that it is so far political, 
of course, and does not extend to the entire 
moral sphere, but I think if it at all lives it is 
potential of the widest import) appears to be 
the extensive form of the method. And this is,, 
as it should be, as Indian individuality is^ 
characterised fundamentally by subjective and 
spiritual pursuit while that of the European is 



140 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

objective and material. And this is amply and 
significantly illustrated in our non-co-operation 
movement. 



NON-CO-OPERATION 

If the Punjab wrong, the Khilafat treachery, 
and if my indulgence is pardoned, the Chirala- 
Perala tragedy and the almost incurable, 
interminable foreign tyranny announce them- 
selves to our mind as the causes of our move- 
ment, they must be recognised as the '* Nimitta '^ 
(Topical, Ostensible) and not the ** Upadana " 
(The Primal, Real) causes for starting us on this 
national " Yoga Sadhana" under the guidance 
of Gandhi ' Maharishi ' to achieve " Swar§.jya," 
the final 'liberation. Non-co-operation is but 
the purificatory stage of the Yoga, the * Yama ' 
stage which is defined to consist explicitly of 
* Ahimsa.' ' Astheya,' * Brahmacharya/ ' Apari- 
graha,' etc Curiously and significantly enough 
that in these days of Europeanisation of Indian 
mentality, such a scrupulous adherance to our 
traditional methods of sadhana issuing forth 
from Gandhi Maharishi's instinct and injunction 
show that at last India has begun to discover 
iier soul. The abiding Dharmabeeja (The 



ALLEGED SEDITION 141 

Seed of Righteousness) is sprouting forth. Non- 
co-operation, with due deference to our Poet- 
Laureate, is not '' a congregated menace of 
negation shouts and denial of love and life '* 
and so forth, but constitutes an Anubhava and 
Sathwicabhava which leads up to the funda- 
mental aethos Rasa, the Beautiful (one of the 
three theoretic forms of Reality) which leads 
up to the fundamental sentiments of the aesthe- 
tic organisation of the Universe or the World 
process,|viz., Sringara (Love;. Isl on- co-operation 
embodies the abiding sentiments of " Khandi- 
thanayika " (the woman who snubs her Lord) 
one of the eight heroines mentioned in Indian 
dramaturgy. Perhaps " Raudra " (The furiously 
' Bhibhathsa " (The detestable; and " Bhaya- 
naka " (The terriblej " Rasas " await to be dis- 
closed in God's wardrobe in the present drama 
of Universal reconstruction. This non-co-opera- 
tion in the case of these three Rasas may also 
constitute a " Vyabhichari-Bhava " which 
nourishes them. A non-acquaintance with the 
traditional Hindu Aesthetics alone should have 
instilled the doubt that non-co-operation may- 
be an un-Indian method of furthering the 
Cause of Life. Gandhi Maharishi, our Guru, to 
be " Purushottama " must be capable of 



142 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

** Navarasaspoorthi " ("must comprehend the nine 
varieties of Rasa^ as Sree Ramachandra was. 
The NTine, the Prime Numbers, the only number 
of fundamental sentiments which produce, not 
in their totality, but in their severality, God in 
his fulness must find their fullest consummation 
in the eventual evolution of my Guru's charac- 
ter, and in our utter self-surrender to our Guru 
^we believe in it. 



LAW AND SWADHARMA 

This, in brief, is my faith which colours all 
my utterances. The presentation of my ideal 
:and method, therefore, need illustration from 
our mythology, tradition and history and not a 
mere despicable performance of the modern, 
economic, bourgeoisie, diletante, philistine mood 
and its positive method as typified by the de- 
magogue of Trafalgar Square. It is not 
calculated to instil malignant patriotism 
nor provoke vulgar hatred of God's sons 
nor even blatant contempt for egoistic 
follies of soidless bureaucracies. My 
utterances aim at rejuvenating the atrophied 
•centres of human compassion and pity for agony 
• and misery, that requires constant adjustment 



ALLEGED SEDITION 143 

and alleviation, and kindle faith and hope in 
the darkness of desperation and despondency. 
The police that espy, the Magistrate that 
adjudicates, thelaw that pants for vindica- 
tion, are all alike, let me assure you. Sir, 
woefully ignorant and culpably untutored 
to comprehend, much less sympathize with, 
the form and movement of my thought and 
action. A.nd this explains the unnatural 
and grotesque positions that placed the rulers 
and the ruled in their relations to each other. 
Law, I hold, cannot be the resultant of a conflict 
of interests and compromise of ideals, is not 
based on consensus, does not embody the power 
and pleasure of the Crown (as in our view the 
Crown merely executes God's Will nothing more 
nothing less^; but is Sicayamhhu (Self-Creating) 
the fundamental substratum of the world pro- 
cess as revealed through the supermen and 
their actions. Law is not what the modern 
Parliamentarian, makes with his narrow bour- 
geois interests and party shibboleths but is the 
utterance of the Rishi when he is the perfected 
instrument of the dynamic pose of the national 
soul. I recognise your law in so far as it 
is in tune with our national swadharma. If you 
think I have offended your law it is not to 



144 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

defy it in a spirit of scorn or contempt, but to- 
provoke it to purge itself of its erratic form and 
evil import, and attune it to that of our own- 
If i^ou can strip yourself of your official 
austerity and self -insinuation as the defen- 
der of law, and for the moment become the 
man and the Irishman that you are, and 
view it from a high pedestal^ you will see 
the truth of it and realise that this accusa- 
tion of offence is a mockery of God's Law. 
This offence, if you still hold it so is, capable 
of emancipating not only my country but 
also yours, and, let the Britisher under- 
stand, his country too. I hold the method 
I have adopted in gaining our Swaraj, viz.,. 
non-co-operation is and cannot be, even in 
the hands of the most wicked votaries of it,, 
violent, as conceived to be a method of gain- 
ing political Independence. Every War, in) 
my view, can afford to be non- violent. India 
exists and shall exist as a racial unit in 
this universe, only to render war non- 
violent and to teach erring humanity the 
true method of moral and social self- 
adjustment. India punishes herself for the 
redemption of the world. 



ALLEGED SEDITION 145 

THE INDIAN METHOD 
Our moral ideal, our " Pravurthika Dharma " 
does not consist of our own emancipation, and 
even at that, political emancipation alone, as 
life is a complex phenomenon in which all the 
apparently autonomous aspects, social, political, 
economical, moral and aesthetic are interlaced 
and intertwined together in such a maimer that 
action in one aspect will have momentous inci- 
dence in all the others ; but directs itself to- 
wards the achievements of the emancipation of 
all existence from its phenomenal bondage, the 
realisation of every '* Swarupa" (form and 
name) in strict consonance with its " Swa- 
bhava " (individuality' of the " ^adharma " 
(its abiding Functions). In this view this 
righteous war is essentially one species of 
educational process that enables everybody 
and everything to reach God with the em- 
ployment of the only true method (the True 
Indian Method) of appreciating the infinte 
variety of mental, moral and emotional consti- 
tution of all beings so that every one grows to 
one's fullest spiritual stature, everyone becom- 
ing a genius (" Siddha ") with the achievement 
of fullest originality and the complete realisa- 
tion of one's own individuality. That is why, 
10 



146 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

Sir, we are enjoined to throw in our lot with all 
struggles for treedom in this world, irrespective 
of time and clime, be it in Ireland, or in Egypt 
or in Russia or in England. "Sarva Bhuta 
Hitara " (The well-being of all existence) is our 
ideal. Wherever it is- trampled into the dust 
we must get ready to sacrifice ourselves. And 
in so doing we do not bargain with that bereav- 
ed nation or community for a territorial grant 
or an economic concession for a baptism into 
our fold as a condition precedent to our allying 
ourselves with them. Thus you can see that 
we can make the cause of our Moslem Brethren 
as our own only when they remain truly 
Muslim, fighting for their Islam Dharma. The 
Hindu-Muslim Unity, judged from the Hindu 
standpoint, cannot be achieved and becomes a 
mere camouflage if Hindus and Muslims think 
of stripping themselves of their Hindu-ity and 
Muhammadan-ity to reduce themselves into a 
uniforme clectic hotch-potch, at the bidding of 
the so-called rationalistic training which results 
not in a real unity but a grotesque political 
pageantry. It is not the common political 
suffering that is to weld together the Hindu 
and the Muslim, like the Greeks of old during 
the Persian invasions, but the mutual respect, 



N^ 



ALLEGED SEDITION 147 

regard, and love for each other's Dharma and 
the necessity of its individuated preservation 
that can and shall achieve it. Sivaraj, therefore^ 
means the preservation of Hindu Dharma^ 
Muslim Dharma, Christian Dharma^ Parsi 
Dharma, Sikh Dharma, in short the Swad- 
harma of all, and a co-ordinated federation 
of all, which are now being threatened ivith 
destruction by a positive Godless Philoso- 
phy, industrial anarchy, and spiritual 
famine that beset the world at the present 
moment. We shall achieve it by " Nishkama 
Karma," action without a longing for the 
fruit, and then. Sir, tell me where do hatred 
and contempt come in the performance of such 
an action ? 

My amiable adversary, the Public Prosecutor, 
has laboured long to manufacture hatred and 
contempt and disaffection out of my speech to- 
wards the existing Government, but alas ! he 
miserably failed to do so, but, however, succeed- 
ed in showing up those (hatred, contempt, and 
disaffection) in the attitude of the Govern- 
ment towards my country. You know that I 
admitted the paragraphs and sentences to have 
occurred in the course of my speech, though 
ailing from a lot of infirmities ; and 1 accosted 



148 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

you as to whether you yourself were disaffected 
over them. And when you replied that possib- 
ly you are not and perhaps my audience, gene- 
rally unlettered as they are, in your opinion 
might have become so, I replied that if they 
(my audience) being acquainted with the 
language of my speech, my method of argument, 
my mythological allusions, my vital touches, 
my idiom, my gesture, might be disaffected, you 
who are quite alien to all these, sitting in 
judgment over these notwithstanding, and 
however sympathetic, should have been more 
so. I also said the general uneducatedness 
which you impute to my audience is born of 
falso apprehension. As you remember I remark- 
ed that some of what we, Indians, learn from 
our mother's lap is imparted to an European 
youth in the post-graduate course, and I cited 
the idea of ' Karma ' (in the European philoso-^ 
phical slang, the idea of ' metempsychosisV is a 
part and parcel of our volition, even from our 
childhood and this is engendered in our germ 
plasm by centuries of emotional and moral 
training in our previous births. It is futile per- 
haps to argue that we meant no disaffection 
hatred or contempt as you cannot perhaps com- 
prehend our view of life that even a full-fledged 



ALLEGED SEDITION 149 

sublime revolt against God as practised by 
Havana, Hiranyakasyapa and other Rakshasas 
ismerely " Satrusadhana "(the Controversial, the 
Oppositional, the Belligerent method) in contrast 
with " Mitrasadhana " (the Expositary, the 
Devotional, and the Self-surrendering methods,) 
leading up to final liberation (Moksha) as they 
all got to. I have argued out everything 
of those paras complained against, in my 
preliminary statement and I need say nothing 
further. 

CONCLUSION 

In conclusion, let me imitate the Indian 
School Boy, nervous and trembling in the exami- 
nation hall, addressing in his answer book an 
appeal to the humanity of the examiner, ignor- 
ing his questions to be answered, that he should 
be passed off to give him a lease of life and say 
that you, Sir, shall immediately inform your 
Government that they expedite the establish- 
ment of Swarajya by sending thousands and 
thousands of my countrymen into the Training 
Colleges of patriotism and self-fulfilment, your 
jails. Delay is dangerous. My Lord Sree Rama 
Chandra has sanctioned the prosecution of 
three hundred millions of my countrymen, in . 



150 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY 

the Civil Disobedience resolution at Hastinapura 
(Delhi), the cremation ground of many an 
Empire of egoism, the outskirts of Kurukshetra, 
and His Inspector-General, the Lord of 
Eamadandu, Mahatma Gandhi awaits to execute 
it. My incessant prayer is that thus shall it be. 

" Swasthi Sree Ramarpana Masthu.'' 

Dt. Mg. : — The judgment will be delivered on 
Monday, the 14th instant. 

Fourth Day {14th November) , 

The District Magistrate delivered his judg- 
ment at 12 noon. 

He delivered an admirable judgment in which 
he admitted that there was much force in the 
complaint of the accused, viz., mutilation of illus- 
tration and the murder of context. Anyhow as 
the speech offends 124A Indian Penal Code, 
technically therefore 'I sentence him to 9 months 
simple imprisonment running concurrently with 
the old one.* 

Gopal recited the following Swasthi — 

[May monarchs govern the people of this 
world in the true righteous path and all bliss to 
them : May the cow and the Brahmin be 
blessed with peace and plenty ever and ever- 
May happiness reign over the entire world.] 

This is our national anthem. It is known to 



ALLEGED SEDITION 151 

every orthodox Hindu throughout the length- 
and breadth of this land. The words cow and 
Brahmin mean the nourishers of our body and 
soul. Brahmana gives milk of knowledge and: 
love. It is the generic Brahmin and not the 
modern variety which is a mockery. It means > 
the educators of the world. 

Ramdas Duggirala Gopalakrishna's message 
to his countrymen — 
To my countrymen, 

The Civil Revolution began. 

Gita Ch. 2.- 
[If thou should'st not engage thyself in this 
holy war, thou shalt perish with thy fame and 
svadharma (individuality as a nation) and live 
ever in sin]. 

Of this I remind you all, my brethren. Hope- 
you can draw upon from the Lord's assurance. 
[" But they who, cleansed of other' — ness. 
Where'er they turn. See ME hail ME, 
At-One for aye in ME are they : 
I'gain for them, I hold for them."] 
Yoga is the securing of our further aspirat- 
ions and Kshema means the preservation of 
that already secured. These are the Lord's 
concern. Let us jump in with a *Nishkama 
Dhruthi ' with the determination devoid of 



152 THE CHIRALA-PERALA TRAGEDY. 

longiDg after any fruit. We may, and perhaps 
will, perish in the conflict but our children and 
the generations to come shall enjoy the fruit. 
Let there be no violence even in the hour of the 
utmost temptation. That would be puerile 
egoism, self-destruction and un-Indian in the 
extreme. 

And even in the hour of victory be generous 
and chivalrous. 

[If you catch your enemy who deserves 
death, see that you do not kill him, but do good 
to him and send him away.] 

Gandhi Maharishi is born to lead us to 
Swardjya and thence to Swardjya. He is 
our Superman, our Jivanrnukta, the Transpar- 
ent Instrument of God's Will. Mistake him 
not. March on to Victory under his guidance. 
Non-violent non-co-operation surely the un-ini- 
tiate misunderstand. 

[That which is thought of as darkness by all 
beings is light to the Rishi and vice versa.] 

So be not deceived. Have faith in him and 
glory and Victory shall be ours. 

The Punjab wrong, Khilafat treachery, and 
Chirala-Perala tragedy are but the Avaroha- 
nas, The descending ones, in the even song of 
Swaraj whose Aroharas, the ascending ones, 



ALLEGED SEDITION 153 

are the establishmeint of Swaraj in India and 
also in England, which awaits you in your on- 
coming struggle. I am destined to deny myself 
the sharing of y(»ur pangs in suffering and 
sacrifice : but may yet share your joy when it 
is settled and beccmes the Rasa of universal 
love. I embrace you all and exit to my cell, 

Swasthi Sri Ramarpana Masthu. 

(Camp)Sub'Ja^l,^ Yours in love, 

.^.Tt^ T y DUGGIRALA 

14th November , gOPALAKRISHNAYYA. 

1921, J 

Another message was also delivered by him 
to his Chirala-Perala brethren to carry out 
their fight to the end and according to the 
decision of Gandhiji and the Andhra leaders. 
These messages were handed over to me early 
morning on 14th November, at 12 o'clock the 
judgment was delivered, and by 2 o'clock train 
he was sent to the Trichinopoly Jail. Thus 
ended one of the farcical trials in a British 
Court of Law ! 



11 



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